Chilton quietly goes about his business to lead backmarkers

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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.

Josef Newgarden wins pole for Grand Prix of Alabama

Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images
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With time running off the clock, Josef Newgarden lapped Barber Motorsports Park with a speed of 122.773 mph to win his third career pole and first on this track in the Grand Prix of Alabama.

Newgarden was .0128 seconds faster than teammate Scott Dixon in second.

Newgarden has two previous wins at Barber. He won last year’s edition of this race after starting seventh and in 2015 from fifth.

“I didn’t know if that was going to be enough,” Newgarden said after winning the pole.

“Team Chevy has done a good job,” Newgarden said. “They’ve really given us good power this weekend – good driveability. We’re going to need some fuel mileage tomorrow, which I think we’ll have. But it’s going to get mixed up with the rain.”

Fast 12

Newgarden topped this chart with a speed of 123.475 mph.

He brought Power, James Hinchcliffe, Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Sebastien Bourdais along with him to the Fast 6.

Marco Andretti (122.480 mph), Alexander Rossi (122.216), Simon Pagenaud (122.050), Robert Wickens (122.042), Zach Veach (121.784) and Ed Jones (120.984) failed to advance.

Round 1, Group 1

Newgarden posted the fastest single lap in round one, group one of qualification for the Grand Prix of Alabama with a speed of 122.550 mph.

Hunter-Reay, Hinchcliffe, Wickens, and Andretti also advance to the fast 12.

Taking the final slot was Jones with a speed of 119.835 after an off-course excursion in final practice.

This was Andretti’s first advancement to the fast 12 for the first time since 2014.

Round 1, Group 2

Power had the fastest lap of 121.570 mph

Bourdais, Veach (who is battling food poisoning-like symptoms), Rossi, and Pagenaud grabbed positions 2-4.

Scott Dixon had an uncharacteristically slow lap of 121.006, but managed to advance to the fast 12 when the session was red-flagged for an incident involving Tony Kanaan.

With three minutes remaining, Kanaan spun into the tire barriers while leaving pit road. Since he brought out the red flag, he lost his qualification time of 119.996 mph.

Takuma Sato had slipped off-course midway through the session and posted only the Ninth-fastest speed of 120.789 mph.