Max Chilton has described how “there was definitely room for improvement” from his Ferrari-powered Marussia during the opening segment of the qualifying hour, after the Briton narrowly missed out on an opportunity to progress into Q2.
Due to the red flag delay caused after Marcus Ericsson’s incident, Chilton was ultimately unable to progress and therefore qualified 18th ahead of his team-mate.
After storming to their maiden points in Formula One last time out at the Monaco Grand Prix, Marussia arrived at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve essentially prepared for a difficult weekend, with the notorious 4.361km circuit expected to be less favourable to the Anglo-Russian outfit.
Although Jules Bianchi in particular has been plagued with mechanical gremlins throughout the weekend, the pace of the Ferrari-powered car has been rather impressive with Chilton only +0.11 seconds off of a time which would’ve seen the 23-year-old progress into Q2 for only the second time of his career after Belgium last season.
Despite slight disappointment from Chilton at being so close yet so far from Q2, the Briton has explained how he felt that there was definitely more pace in his car which would’ve become apparent had the red flags not been unfurled due to Marcus Ericsson’s incident.
With the Banbury-based outfit clearly continuing to improve after an impressive start to their 2014 campaign, Chilton will be looking to secure his 26th consecutive finish during the 70-lap Canadian Grand Prix, with the former GP2 star still yet to retire from a race in his career.
“We came here off the back of a great result for the team in Monaco, but fully expecting to struggle rather more at a circuit that has never really suited our car in previous seasons,” he explained.
“I think we are all a little surprised, but pleasantly so, because it really underlines how much progress we’ve made with the car in all conditions and at a variety of circuits.
“We’ve had a very positive couple of days and we were hoping to be able to wrap all that into a great qualifying, which we started to do on the first run. That was a good lap, but there was definitely room for improvement, but the red flag put paid to that.
“We have to look on the bright side though because it’s a further sign that our progress is genuine and not the product of one race.
“My plan for tomorrow is to aim to keep everyone behind me and hopefully have a nice fight with the cars ahead.”
With Marussia continuing to close the gap to the likes of Sauber and Pastor Maldonado, they could certainly become a regular in Q2 later on in the season.
However, during tomorrow’s race the outfit could well find themselves in a similar position to Monaco should a high rate of attrition once again strike the field, with Max Chilton clearly boasting the upper hand within the team after Jules Bianchi’s relatively frustrating weekend so far with mechanical issues.
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