Marussia’s Bahrain Grand Prix was plagued with issues with the Pirelli tyres, which eventually saw the Anglo-Russian outfit out-raced by Charles Pic in the Caterham. The team suffered a tough weekend around the Bahrain International Circuit, one which did not seem to benefit the Cosworth-powered MR-02 machine.
After the opening three races of the season, it was clearly evident that Marussia held the upper hand over arch rivals Caterham. Jules Bianchi in particular had proven to be the thorn in the Leafield-based team’s side, however the Bahrain Grand Prix was the first race of the year where Caterham seemed to be able to match and thwart the Banbury-based outfit’s early and impressive pace. Whereas Caterham introduced several upgrades to their car this weekend, Marussia seemed to struggle around the Bahrain International Circuit.
The reason behind Marussia’s lack of pace this weekend was largely due to the tyres, which both drivers seemed to struggle with throughout the 57-lap race. Despite their lack of overall pace in comparison to Caterham and Charles Pic in particular, the Anglo-Russian outfit has retained their lead over their rivals in the battle for 10th in the Constructors’ Championship, with Jules Bianchi’s 13th in Malaysia so far proving valuable. However, the outfit is hopeful of returning to their competitive ways next time out in Spain, when several new upgrades will be introduced to the car.
“A really difficult race for us today and a tough weekend all round to be honest.” Admitted Jules Bianchi, who recorded his lowest finish of the year. “I was hoping that things might improve for the race, but we really struggled with the tyres. It was not destined to be our race and we are at the stage where we need to implement the next round of upgrades, which of course are coming right when we need them for Barcelona. My thanks to the pit crew today for a busy day of pit stops and for keeping their spirits through the weekend.”
Despite the slight sense of negativity within the Marussia camp after a tough race weekend, 22-year-old Briton Max Chilton managed to find several positives. At the start, the rookie was able to rise ahead of the Caterham duo, however the team’s issue with the tyres saw Chilton fall back through the order to eventually finish 20th and one lap off of the pace. Although Max Chilton was once again out-raced by team-mate Jules Bianchi, he still enjoyed battling with the Frenchman throughout the race.
“Despite a difficult weekend for us here, there were some encouraging signs in the race today.” Explained Max Chilton, “I got a really good start, which I was very pleased with, and this meant that we were able to leapfrog both of the Caterhams for a while. Unfortunately we struggled on the tyres and it wasn’t long into each stint before we hit that window again. I’m pleased that I have demonstrated that I drove to the pace of the car today and although we weren’t in a position to race who we want to be, I did at least have a good battle with my team-mate.”
With both Caterham and Marussia expected to introduce further upgrades next time out at the Spanish Grand Prix, the battle for the coveted 10th place in the Constructors’ Championship will surely step up a gear between the two outfits. So far it is advantage Marussia, although Caterham are never too far behind the red and black-clad outfit.
Picture Copyright © Marussia F1 Team