Yesterday former Marussia F1 driver Max Chilton won his maiden Indy Lights race at the Iowa Speedway and dedicated his win to his former team-mate Jules Bianchi.
Bianchi passed away after succumbing to injuries sustained at Suzuka on 5 October 2014. The two were team-mates at Marussia during the 2013 and 2014 Formula 1 seasons.
Chilton, who started from pole position, lead for close to 90% of the race and paid tribute to Bianchi after his victory. Chilton stated the following about how much he has learnt from being his team mate in F1 as follows:-
‘It’s been a difficult nine months, to be brutally honest with you. I’ve learned a lot from him, and he was part of that win.’
Chilton’s win at Iowa was his first victory in any form of motor racing since 2012. He further acknowledged in his interview after the race that thoughts of his former team-mate had spurred him on. Chilton added the following:-
‘I probably thought of him every five or 10 laps, because he was a driver destined to probably be a world champion.’
In the final stages of his interview with the media, Chilton publically thanked the Carlin team for helping him achieve the win in Iowa and allowing him to pay tribute to Jules in the best way he could have. Chilton said the following:-
‘It was simply perfect. The team gave me the car to do it. I had a tricky 10 laps or so in the middle of the race when I got frustrated by traffic, but I know Ed experienced the same. I managed to take the lead again and the car was just great.
‘I’d like to thank the team for all their work and once again this is dedicated to Jules as I know he would have driven the perfect race.’
All I can say is that Chilton has shown that he can win races and that he is no slouch in the cockpit. Yes, I may have questioned his abilities on the track more than a few times and yesterday, he proved me and many of his doubters wrong and paid tribute to Jules in the best way possible and in a way he would have wanted.
There is no doubt that Jules would have been watching Max on the track and would have been proud of the performance he put in yesterday and would have been cheering him on every step of the way.