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Rookie diary - with Marussia's Max Chilton 10 Jul 2013

Max Chilton (GBR) Marussia F1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, German Grand Prix, Practice, Nurburgring, Germany, Friday, 5 July 2013 Max Chilton (GBR) Marussia F1 Team MR02.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, German Grand Prix, Practice, Nurburgring, Germany, Friday, 5 July 2013 Max Chilton (GBR) Marussia F1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, British Grand Prix, Practice, Silverstone, England, Friday, 28 June 2013 Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams FW35 about to crash into the barrier after clashing with Max Chilton (GBR) Marussia F1 Team MR02.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Race Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Sunday, 26 May 2013 Max Chilton (GBR) Marussia F1 Team MR02.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 23 May 2013 Max Chilton (GBR) Marussia F1 Team, left, on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, German Grand Prix, Race Day, Nurburgring, Germany, Sunday, 7 July 2013 Max Chilton (GBR) Marussia F1 Team MR02.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, German Grand Prix, Qualifying, Nurburgring, Germany, Saturday, 6 July 2013 Max Chilton (GBR) Marussia F1 Team on the drivers parade.
Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Canadian Grand Prix, Race Day, Montreal, Canada, Sunday, 9 June 2013 Max Chilton (GBR) Marussia F1 Team MR02.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, German Grand Prix, Practice, Nurburgring, Germany, Friday, 5 July 2013 Max Chilton (GBR) Marussia F1 Team MR02.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, British Grand Prix, Qualifying, Silverstone, England, Saturday, 29 June 2013

He may be a rookie, but Marussia’s Max Chilton is proving to be one of the most consistent drivers on the 2013 grid, with nine finishes from nine races so far, including an eventful 14th place in Monaco. In the latest of our series charting the personal and professional progress of this year’s newcomers, the 22-year-old Briton reflects on his development over the first half of the season…

“It’s not been that long a period since my first Grand Prix in Australia - it was only four months ago in March - but nine races have now gone by and you learn a lot in that time, especially if you finish every race like I have.

“We’ve got the consistency of finishing races so hopefully we can keep that going and concentrate on improving performance - getting a little bit more out of myself and the car at every race. The main thing in Formula One is to progress - you don’t want to ever stop that; you need to keep learning and getting better.

“The more miles you do in a car, the better you get to know it. But not only that - as your mileage goes up so does your ability to give better feedback and that enables the team to take more from it and develop the car further. I think [team mate] Jules [Bianchi] and I are doing a good job - we’re in our rookie years but I’m told the feedback we give is confident.

“There’s definitely more teamwork between Jules and I than competitiveness because we’re both at the beginning of our careers and are learning. I think it’s different when you’re at the other end of the field - you already know the way the sport works. We’re not racing rookies, but Jules and I are Formula One rookies and there are things for us to learn that the top guys already know. I’ve never been in a top team but I imagine that team mates probably communicate slightly less. Where we are now, we’re trying to learn from each other to help the team grow, as much as to help ourselves grow.

“We definitely had a bit of bad luck at the start of the year - the first four or five races I seemed to suffer a few problems which made things harder for me. I always say to people that it’s not always the timesheets you should look at but other things that are going on behind the scenes. The last few races though, we haven’t really had any issues and I’ve been able to improve my performance - Monaco I got 14th and in Montreal we had good pace. If we can get that consistency, it’s easier for me to worry about what I’ve got to do.

“Obviously I had the incident in Monaco with Pastor Maldonado [where Chilton and Maldonado came together, resulting in the Williams hitting the barriers heavily at Tabac]. I did learn from it, but to be honest with you even if I’d been in F1 for 20 years, I would have still done the same thing. I wasn’t aware of anything around me - I knew there was a car behind me but I wasn’t expecting him to put his car there. That’s why I came across. It wasn’t intentional. I’m pretty sure, whatever experience I had, I still would have done that. So I don’t think it was a ‘rookie error’ - sometimes you do see rookie errors but I think it was just a racing incident. It was my fault but not because I’m a rookie.

“I’m quite a self-critical driver - you’ve got to analyse yourself, particularly in the early stages of your career. If I make a mistake I’m harsh on myself for one day, but the worst thing you can do is to carry that on and make yourself depressed. You need to learn from it, move on and get yourself training and motivated for the next race - don’t ever dwell on the past.

“Speaking of Monaco, the whole weekend was incredibly special. It was good to finish - I really wanted to finish the Grand Prix because there are always a lot of accidents in Monaco. Not only did I finish, but I also finished with a good result - I was the highest placed finisher of the Caterhams and Marussias and I managed to overtake Giedo van der Garde with a lap to go.

“Performance-wise my speed was really good - probably my best weekend of the year - so to come away with a good result - one that we deserved - was brilliant. I think it helped that I had a bit of experience at Monaco having raced there for the last four years in the junior categories. It’s very challenging and it’s not all about qualifying and practice there - you have got to finish the race and keep it out of the walls and we did that. We had really strong pace in the last 20 laps and I managed to catch Jules and Giedo and get ahead of them. I’d say street tracks suit my style quite well - I like to focus on really technical stuff and not getting any wheel-spin.

“Overall, I feel satisfied with what I’ve achieved so far this year. I’ve managed to finish all the races and I’ve done the job that the team have asked me to do. I’ve given them feedback and that’s what we want when we’re building the car and learning. I need to work on a little bit of everything to get more out of myself and the car, but I think I’ve shown why I’m here.

“As for the rest of the season, it’s more of the same in terms of learning, but I think we’ve got to aim a bit higher now. We’ve just got to get the car stronger now - that’s our main target, as well as beating Caterham. When you finish ahead of the cars around you, it feels like winning the race.

“But the best feeling is when you get that helmet on and it all goes silent and all you hear is your engineer on the radio. Then you hear the engine behind you. It’s just pure enjoyment - you’re doing what you’re meant to do as a driver.”

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