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GP Week : Issue 189
Max Chilton once again lined up behind teammate Jules Bianchi at the Gran Premio D’Italia, yet there appeared to be a little more devil in the detail surrounding the Marussia pecking order this time around. The discovery of a fuelling error on Chilton’s car – somewhere in the order of twenty kilograms – was a relief for the young Briton, whose pace in retrospect was comparable to the opposition in front and more importantly a teammate who has had the advantage since Melbourne. Despite the fuelling issues, the Marussia’s long-runs looked to be relatively promising for a decent Sunday performance. Some impressive tyre management from both Chilton and Bianchi enabled both Marussias to execute a one-stop strategy over the two-stopping Caterhams, but a superb start by Charles Pic left the Frenchman well out of reach. An opportunity for a late race attack on Giedo van der Garde also came to naught when a low fuel issue forced both Marussia drivers to back out of the challenge in an effort to make it to the flag. What should please John Booth and Marussia’s upper management was the ease with which Chilton was able to hang on to Bianchi throughout the race. Should the team get to grips with an inherent lack of stability in dirty air, they can take heart that both drivers would be able to take hold of any opportunities that present themselves. With confidence a vital factor in Formula One, the strong performance in Italy comes at a perfect time for Chilton, given the tough fly-away races ahead. “Another tough race today, and one which underlined the balance problems we’ve been experiencing all weekend,” Chilton said. “The start was okay, but we weren’t able to keep pace with the competition today. What I was encouraged by was my pace versus my teammate – there was nothing between us for the first 25 laps, but every time I got close enough to overtake I lost downforce, so I couldn’t do anything to improve. “I kept with [Bianchi] throughout the rest of the race, despite experiencing the toughest blue flag phase of the season, when it was really hard to make sure I gave the space needed at the right time and not suffer a huge loss of time myself. Time now to say goodbye to the European phase of my debut season for what will be a very challenging run of long-haul races I think.” Max attack in Monza 32 GPWEEK.com // 32 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> ITALY