--
 
Top new models for SA

From Renault's new Alaskan bakkie to the latest models at the Frankfurt motor show bound for SA.

Electric cars in SA

The debate on whether or not Electric Vehicles (EV) are viable in South Africa rages on.

New star? Alonso lauds rookie Bianchi

2014-05-27 08:52

RISING STAR IN F1: Fernando Alonso believes that Marussia’s Jules Bianchi's great performance at the 2014 Monaco GP could be the start of something big for the rookie. Image: AFP

ALAN BALDWIN

MONTE CARLO, Monaco - Jules Bianchi's stunning 2014 Monaco 1 GP  could be the start of something big for the Marussia driver after logging crucial points, says Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.

Bianchi finished eighth on track, ninth  after a penalty was taken into account.

Alonso, whose own F1 career began with now-defunct minnow Minardi, is a friend and travelling companion of Bianchi, who is under contract to Ferrari as part of its Young Driver Academy.

TALENTED BIANCHI

Alonso said: "We spend a lot of time together in Maranello, we play football, we go cycling, we travel together on the same plane for some races. He's a friend and I'm extremely happy for him and very proud of what his result will mean for what I have no doubt will be a good career.

"I hope with this result he can have a more competitive car in 2015 and show his talent even more."

The points, in a showcase race watched bymillions around the world, were cash-starved Marussia's first in more than four years of trying and propelled the Ferrari-powered team to ninth in the Constructors' standings, ahead of Ferrari-powered Sauber.

'ABSOLUTE TOP DRIVER'

Marussia team principal John Booth agreed that Bianchi was destined for a bigger stage: "I think he's ready to go now. If they (Ferrari) need him, I think he's ready to go. I think he's got a long career in F1. Absolute top driver."

Bianchi's race  was all the more impressive because he started at the back of the grid after a penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change. He gained five places at the start but then had to fight back from two stop/go penalties, the second imposed for serving the first during a safety-car period.

The Frenchman was helped by retirements and crashes ahead of him but he still finished ahead of Ferrari's 2007 F1 champion Kimi Raikkonen and McLaren's highly rated Danish rookie Kevin Magnussen.

To cap it all, he pulled off a daring pass of Caterham's Japanese driver Kamui Kobayashi - a man renowned for his own crowd-pleasing passes - around the tight Rascasse corner.

Bianchi said he was thrilled for the team: "It was not an easy race; there were some enjoyable highs along the way, but also a couple of concerning moments. What matters is that we got there and we can savour the highlights for a long time to come."
NEXT ON WHEELS24X
Read more on:    marussia  |  2014 monaco gp  |  monaco  |  f1  |  motorsport

Inside Wheels24

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.