10 years ago, Jules Bianchi shone in the streets of Monaco

Heroic, the French hope offered the Marussia team the first Top 10 of its existence in F1. Story of a princely entry onto the shelves of the World Championship in 2014.

Published on 25/05/2024 à 12:15

Jean-Michel Desnoues

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10 years ago, Jules Bianchi shone in the streets of Monaco

2014 Monaco Grand Prix, or the day Jules Bianchi shone. © Florent Gooden / DPPI

The man was discreet. To the spotlight of the television cameras that flood into the Marussia stand, he preferred the anonymity of the grumpy faithful who have been with him since 1990, those who saw the birth of Manor Motorsport. These first real moments of joy, awaited for four and a half years, it was with his team that John Booth wanted to savor them. “ These points are a relief, he whispered to us, while Damon Hill questioned Bianchi for the British channel Sky Sports. We thought we had a chance here, but the gearbox problem encountered in qualifying and the resulting five grid places made it impossible. Jules had a fantastic race, without giving up, without ever giving up. He is a very valuable driver. That's why Ferrari took him under his wing. He will have, but we already knew that, a long and successful career in F1 »

More friendly towards the media than the solid John Booth, Graeme Lowdon, general manager of the team, echoed his boss's words. " These streets have always honored the greatest drivers and I am delighted that today they salute the immense talent of Jules, he asserted at the outset. It is always easy to praise a driver when he has done a good job, but what he has achieved is exceptional. Driving here requires a good dose of courage and intelligence. You have to make the right decisions, and they were not always the clearest during the 78 laps. Jules showed a lot of patience and skill. He put his head to work and was able to drop top-notch times when he needed to. »

Jules Bianchi unleashed

Jules Bianchi, it was towards him that all eyes converged, that the microphones were held out. There are not that many of those who have revealed themselves on this track full of traps, where it is not easy to overtake. He succeeded, and in a very good way. “ It was rather hot with Kobayashi at Rascasse but I told myself that it had to pass, he emphasized as the 1996 World Champion gave him back his freedom. When he saw that I was there, he closed the door a little, but I was already there. I did not think. I saw the opening and jumped in. I was going faster than him, but I wouldn't have had such an opportunity again. I was only a handful of tenths faster and if I hadn't taken the chance at that moment, I would have stayed behind »

Once the Caterham driver passed, the Varois gained another notch in terms of confidence. After having made a most brilliant start to the race, which allowed him to erase the stop & go earned for not having started from his grid position, he became absolutely irresistible but it did not take long to learn that he was under the blow of a second penalty. “ When I was told that I was going to do a second stop & go, it took my mind off things a little but I managed to pull myself together. Above all, I didn't understand why. The team explained to me that they had made a mistake by making me serve my five second penalty during the neutralization, but that it did not change the result and that we were still in the points. It reassured me »

Jules Bianchi was launched! Jean Michel Le Meur / DPPI

Having moved up to 10th place, Nicolas Todt's protégé gained two more places when Kimi Raikkonen attempted a suicidal maneuver on Kevin Magnussen at the Loews bend, in the 73e round. Jules Bianchi crossed the line in 8th place, but fell back one place after the five-second penalty was added, since he had not made his stop & go. A most lenient sentence.

« Since the free practice on Thursday we knew that we had a good pace compared to the Saubers and we were hoping for points, because we knew that there are always incidents during this Grand Prix, he concluded by targeting his next objectives. What I did today is what I should seek to do whenever the opportunity presents itself. When you're in a small team like Marussia, you don't have the right to miss the slightest opportunity to showcase yourself. It happens once, maybe twice in a season, but no more. You have to savor the moment and keep working. We must use this result as a springboard to accelerate our takeoff. It is not an end in itself, but is a beginning. The team has been waiting for this for a while and it's not going to relax now. We measure the work that remains to be done to become a team capable of regularly scoring points. As for me, to be honest, I have a little difficulty realizing... » Here too, you just need to be patient.

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Text taken from AUTOhebdo N°1962 published on May 28, 2014

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