Jules Bianchi came out of his first Formula One test for Marussia feeling positive for the season ahead.
The Frenchman was only announced to be racing for the team on Friday, but he was immediately quick in the MR02 car.
“The past 24 hours have passed by so quickly, having signed for my new team and tested our new car in such a short space of time.
“Today has been pretty busy but we have been very fortunate to have dry weather, warm conditions, a reliable day and plenty of mileage, so in many ways I couldn’t have asked for more on my first day in the MR02.”
Bianchi finished 12th, ahead of closest rivals Caterham, and his pace was on par with that of new teammate Max Chilton. His Formula One aspirations appeared to have been dealt a blow after he missed out on the Force India seat, but Bianchi is now itching to get racing in Melbourne in two weeks time.
“My thanks to the team for a big welcome and for working so hard into the night to create the seat and have everything ready for me today.
“I feel very positive for Australia and the rest of the season.”
Bianchi will get his final run in the Marussia MR02 before the start of the season this morning in Barcelona, with teammate Max Chilton closing the test in the afternoon.
So much of Danica Patrick’s fame can be traced to Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
It’s where she became a household name 13 years ago when she became the first woman to lead the Indianapolis 500 and emerged as a transcendent athlete.
It’s where everything started. This Sunday, it’s where everything will end, too.
In her last warmup before starting the final race of her career, Patrick had a bumpy final practice Friday on Carb Day. She was eighth fastest, but her Dallara-Chevrolet was in the garage most of the session because of an electrical problem in the engine. After returning during the final 10 minutes of the session, Patrick’s No. 13 seemed to be OK.
“At the end of the day, these are things you’re actually glad for, because if this had happened Sunday, we would have been done,” she said. “I’m glad to get the issues out of the way early on. Overall, today felt good. We made some changes when I went out the second time, and I’m feeling good about starting seventh on Sunday.”
Though she has had her share of success – along with a fourth in her debut, there was a third in 2009 and six top 10s in seven starts — Patrick has learned well how to handle frustration at the 2.5-mile track, too.
Fuel mileage might have kept her from winning her debut, a pit collision ruined 2008, and an unstable setup made 2010 a wild ride.
For a review of her up-and-down history at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and her legacy in racing, watch the video essay above that ran during Friday’s NASCAR America Motorsports Special on NBCSN.