Max Chilton may not be the highest profile driver in Formula 1 this season, nor the most talented. However, the Marussia racer has proven himself to be one of the most consistent, and as a result currently leads the battle of the backmarkers in 2014.
The Briton has the remarkable record of having finished every single grand prix that he has started, having debuted at the 2013 Australian Grand Prix. Last season, he was overshadowed by Ferrari driver academy teammate Jules Bianchi, but has so far this year had the edge on his teammate.
Chilton has already bettered his best result from 2013 twice this season, finishing 13th in Australia and Bahrain. These results have given Marussia 10th place in the constructors’ championship for the time being as Kamui Kobayashi has just a single 13th place finish for Caterham.
Bianchi – who is widely acknowledged as a future star – has not had much luck so far this year. In Australia, he was forced to sit out the first six laps of the race because of a problem on his car, and despite getting out on track, he was too far behind to be classified. A brake problem forced him to retire in Malaysia, and the safety car in Bahrain worked against him.
In China, Bianchi bounced back to finish as the leading driver from the bottom two teams. Although he did get overtaken by Kobayashi on the final lap of the race, a problem with the checkered flag meant that the result was taken at lap 54.
Despite these results, there is a certain question mark still hanging over Chilton’s capability as a Formula 1 driver. Ferrari is thought to be keen on promoting another junior driver, Raffaele Marciello, into a race seat at some point in the future. That said, having not raced in a car besides the Marussia, Chilton’s ability may have been masked somewhat by the pace of the car.
Time will tell just what Chilton can do in Formula 1. However, so long as he keeps seeing the checkered flag, he will be an asset to Marussia.