Marussia fend off Caterham to secure P10 in constructors’

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The entire team at Marussia is celebrating tonight after fending off Caterham to secure tenth place in the constructors’ championship and move off the back of the grid for the 2014 Formula One season.

Although finishing with zero points in tenth place may not be much of an achievement to most, the battle between the two teams – both in just their fourth year of racing – has been fierce with the position marking a sizeable increase in prize money as well as the prestige of not being the ‘bottom’ team in Formula One.

Marussia entered the race in Brazil occupying the position by virtue of Jules Bianchi’s thirteenth-place finish at the Malaysian Grand Prix back in March. However, as the team had learned in 2012, Brazil can throw up a surprise or two, meaning that Caterham’s bid to finish thirteenth at Interlagos was by no means unrealistic.

Giedo van der Garde looked like he could challenge to do just that when he popped up in fourteenth place after some of the leading cars had made their first pit stops, but ultimately there simply weren’t enough retirements for the team to get into the required position. When Caterham’s Charles Pic’s race ended with a front suspension failure, Jules Bianchi of Marussia became the lead driver from the two teams, evenetually finishing in seventeenth place just under ten seconds ahead of van der Garde.

At the end of the race, celebrations broke out in the Marussia garage as the team celebrated finishing ahead of Caterham for the first time in Formula One and the additional prize money that goes with P10.

Max Chilton also became the first driver in the history of Formula One to complete every race during his rookie season, even if a slight problem on his car gave his team cause for concern at the end of the race. The Briton is thought to be closing on a new contract with the team in 2014.

F1 2017 driver review: Nico Hulkenberg

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Nico Hulkenberg

Team: Renault
Car No.: 27
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P6 (Spain, Great Britain, Belgium, Abu Dhabi)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 43
Championship Position: 10th

Expectations were hard to peg for Renault heading into its second full season back in F1 with a factory team, but Nico Hulkenberg was surely expected to be the man spearheading its charge.

With teammate Jolyon Palmer severely underperforming, Hulkenberg did exactly that, bringing home all but 14 of the team’s points in the final standings. However, consistency was never something he truly found.

Many of Renault’s issues were down to reliability issues, sidelining Hulkenberg for six races – four coming in a five-race stint from Singapore to Mexico – yet he only scored points in consecutive races on three occasions.

When Hulkenberg and Renault were on form, they proved to be a potent combination, often topping the midfield fight and even looking faster than Force India come the end of the season. His run to sixth at the final race in Abu Dhabi was crucial for the constructors’ championship as Renault jumped Toro Rosso, securing an extra slice of prize money in the process.

But for a driver who was so often tipped as being a future star in F1, Hulkenberg still has a lot to prove. Renault is set to offer a good platform for the German moving forward with factory support, yet if he cannot beat new teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. through 2018, concerns will surely be raised.

Season High: Charging to sixth in Abu Dhabi despite a penalty.

Season Low: A tough run to 16th in Malaysia.