Small fire in the engine air tray plagued Jules Bianchi in qualifying

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A small fire in the engine air tray prematurely ended Jules Bianchi’s qualifying session during the early stages of Q1 around the Monte-Carlo street circuit, which began in damp weather conditions. Due to the issue, the team instructed Jules Bianchi to park up and switch off the engine, which he did so at Turn 3.

This meant only Max Chilton competed in the all-important qualifying session for the Monaco Grand Prix, in what turned out to be a frustrating session for the Marussia outfit. Jules Bianchi naturally failed to set a timed lap following the issue on his car, whereas Max Chilton simply struggled in the damp conditions in his first ever race weekend around the streets of Monte-Carlo in Formula 1 machinery.

Despite starting the season in sensational fashion, out-performing arch-rivals Caterham during the opening few races, Marussia have since fallen back behind the Leafield-based outfit. Whereas they qualified 18th and 15th for the race, Marussia remained towards the rear of the order eventually only finishing ahead of Felipe Massa who failed to partake in the session due to his almighty incident during the third and final practice session.

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Jules Bianchi’s car smokes ominously during qualifying at Monaco.

“Of course I was hoping for a good shot at qualifying for my home race, so it is very disappointing to have to pull over so soon and not take part in the session.” Explained a disconsolate Jules Bianchi, “The team aren’t entirely sure of the full cause of the problem just yet but it was clear that I would not have been able to complete any laps, which is why they asked me to pull over. We have to wait to see what happens. I think it could be a very exciting race for everyone tomorrow; things have not been straightforward through the field so we have to remain focused and see what happens and then do the best job possible in what are tough circumstances.”

Although Jules Bianchi is remaining optimistic for the 78-lap race, overtaking around the streets of the Principality is notoriously difficult. With the Anglo-Russian duo set to start tomorrow’s race from the rear of the grid, their main aim at the start will be to simply avoid any collisions through the opening few corners. With Caterham both qualifying ahead of the Marussia duo, the Banbury-based’s 10th position in the Constructors’ Championship could come under serious threat during tomorrow’s 78-lap race.

Picture(s) Copyright © Octane Photographic

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