Jules Bianchi staked a claim on a Ferrari race seat on Wednesday, setting the pace at the post-British grand prix Silverstone test.
Drafted in by Ferrari to replace Kimi Raikkonen after the Finn’s high-speed crash last Sunday, Frenchman and Marussia driver Bianchi looked as impressive as Fernando Alonso had been in practice last weekend in the same F14-T car.
Moreover, Bianchi’s 1 minute 35.2 laptime was more than a second faster than Raikkonen – who has notably struggled in 2014 – had managed in Silverstone practice.
Although clearly part of Ferrari’s future plans, the 24-year-old played down the significance of his Silverstone speed, insisting differing wind conditions between the race weekend and the test played a significant role.
“But it’s always good to do some good laptimes and to be consistent,” he admitted. “Obviously it is much better to do a good job and a good laptime.”
Nonetheless, Raikkonen is firmly under contract for 2015, and Bianchi acknowledged that a race seat with the Maranello team “is not the plan for next year”. (GMM)