GETTING THERE: Manor Marussia driver Will Stevens managed to make it through qualifying for the 2015 Chinese GP after a rough start to the season. Image: Twitter
SHANGHAI, China - Things are starting to look up for team Manor Marussia after getting both their cars through qualifying for the first time this season at the Chinese Grand Prix on Saturday (April 11).
The team, which emerged from the ashes of the Marussia outfit that slipped into administration at the end 2014, had to battle just to make last month's Australian season-opener after being thrown an 11th-hour lifeline.
They did not run in Melbourne, despite making the journey, and were only able to qualify and race with one car at the next race in Malaysia.
But both Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi made it through qualifying in China, albeit on the back row of the grid, after setting times within the 107% cut-off required to start the race.
Team principal John Booth told reporters: "I'm very, very happy. It's been a tough few months."
Sporting director Graeme Lowdon, whose team is using a modified 2014 chassis and last year's Ferrari power unit, added: "We've made pretty good progress in a fairly short space of time."
As a result, while the team made it through qualifying, they were three seconds slower than Fernando Alonso's McLaren, who qualified immediately ahead.
"I think all things considered, clearly you look at the timesheets and you see a gap to the two cars," Lowdon said. "But if you look at key factors like the limitations that we've got, then you could argue that that gap should actually be a bit bigger than that.
"One part of you can never be totally happy. You have to have an element of dissatisfaction otherwise you're never going to move forward. But in terms of the realistic goals, then the team are performing really well."
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