Max Chilton has every reason to celebrate today after qualifying nineteenth for the Japanese Grand Prix, outqualifying teammate Jules Bianchi for the first time this season as well as finishing ahead of Caterham’s Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde.
Chilton, currently in his debut F1 season, has struggled to match the pace of his teammate across the course of the year as Bianchi has firmly established himself as being a star for the future. However, with the Frenchman crashing in FP1 and missing FP2 as a result, his lack of running proved to be costly in qualifying as he finished last on Saturday afternoon.
After a red flag following a fire on Jean-Eric Vergne’s car, the majority of the drivers went out for one final run at the end of Q1 and Chilton took advantage of this, setting a quickest time of 1:34.320 to finish two-tenths clear of Charles Pic and six-tenths ahead of Bianchi. Upon returning to the pits, the Briton was met with a round of applause from his team and praise from many members of the paddock for his excellent performance.
This is an important result for Marussia in the battle for P10 in the constructors’ championship, marking the first qualifying session since the German Grand Prix where one of the team’s cars has outqualified both Caterhams. Chilton will also make up at least one further place on the grid thanks to Adrian Sutil’s five place grid penalty.
Chilton took to Twitter to express his delight after qualifying, saying: “We got ’em! Very happy after such a hectic qualifying on a seriously challenging circuit which was new for me.”
We got em! Very happy after such a hectic qualifying on a seriously challenging circuit which was new for me Great job @Marussia_F1Team 🇯🇵
— Max Chilton (@maxchilton) October 12, 2013