Chilton happy with qualifying display

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Marussia driver Max Chilton has expressed his delight with his first Formula One qualifying performance to Sky Sports.

Despite qualifying eventually being postponed until the following morning, the weather allowed Q1 to go ahead as normal after a thirty minute delay. In his first outing, Chilton qualified in 20th place ahead of both Caterham drivers, and the Briton suggested he may have gone even quicker had it not been for red flags late on.

“For my first qualifying it was pretty challenging, but I’m really happy with it. It was a real shame about the yellow flags as I had to back out and lost a lot of time.

“But we finished ahead of Caterham and that’s what we wanted. The car was a real joy to drive and we’re happy with our job.”

Chilton was also relishing the opportunity of competing in his first race on Sunday, but he set himself the modest target of simply finishing.

“It looks like it will be dry on Sunday and I know we’ve got a quick car in the dry, so either way we’re comfortable. Hopefully we can bring both cars home.”

Teammate Jules Bianchi qualified just in front of Chilton in 19th place, albeit by eight-tenths of a second.

The Australian Grand Prix is renowned for its high rate of attrition, and this could work in Chilton’s favor relying he can get his car to the finish, potentially taking advantage of retirements throughout the race.

Simon Pagenaud has words with Gabby Chaves after Honda Indy GP of Alabama

Photos: IndyCar
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The rain didn’t stop following the conclusion of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, and neither did the jousting between drivers.

An angry Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud confronted Harding Racing’s Gabby Chaves after the race, complaining that Chaves would not let Pagenaud get past him in the closing laps.

Instead of ending up with a hoped-for Top 5, Pagenaud wound up with a ninth-place finish. Chaves, meanwhile, finished 17th, two laps down.

The confrontation turned into a battle of words and profanity between the two drivers, as captured on Twitter by AutoWeek’s Matt Weaver.

Afterward – and after their tempers cooled down somewhat – both Pagenaud and Chaves gave their sides of the confrontation to NBCSN.

Gabby Chaves

First, here’s Pagenaud’s take on things:

“We had a really good race going,” Pagenaud said. “I think we potentially could have been top 5. I was really frustrated with Gabby. He was two laps down and I was stuck behind him, which gave an opportunity to (Scott) Dixon as I was trying to do everything I could to make it happen.

“It’s a real shame because when it’s not your day, it’s not your day. You’ll have better days later, but you want to have everybody on your side when you have a good day. At the moment, he doesn’t have me on his side, let me tell you. It’s a real shame.”

When asked what exactly he said to Chaves, Pagenaud demurred.

“Driver’s stuff,” he said with a slight smile. “We’ve all been there. I’ve been in his position. My side, I played it smart. It is what it is.

“I can’t comment for him. You can ask him the question. I’m not going to make a deal about it, it’s just a shame it ruined my race. We’ll come back stronger. It’s Indy soon, so that’ll put a smile on my face.”

NBCSN then caught up with Chaves for his side of the story.

 

“It’s a tough situation, we had to restart (the rain-delayed race) a lap down,” Chaves said. “Our whole strategy depends on trying to get a yellow and holding our position. Some guys think that the track belongs only to them, they’re the only guys on-track.

“Everyone else who was faster at that point – we were only one lap down to the leader, so we’re still on our strategy and don’t know what’s going to happen – as soon as they got right up next to me on the lead lap, I let them go.

“Simon was the only one who couldn’t drive up to me. I understand his frustration, but he’s the one who has to save fuel to make his strategy work, that’s not our fault, right?”

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