F1: Max Chilton enthused by Marussia progress

The Malaysian Grand Prix takes place this weekend

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The Independent Online

Max Chilton believes Marussia have inadvertently stumbled across a winning formula for this season.

The Briton made a positive start to life in F1 last weekend, and in difficult conditions when the heavens opened over Melbourne's Albert Park shortly before the start of qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix.

After avoiding the back row of the grid, the 21-year-old from Reigate then finished 17th of the 22 that started the race.

As for team-mate Jules Bianchi, also making his debut for the Banbury-based marque, the Frenchman was 15th, but underlined the potential of the car with the 11th quickest lap.

The arrival of Bianchi, signed up as a very late replacement for Luiz Razia given his sponsorship difficulties, and with the Brazilian in turn taken on after Timo Glock was released, has been inspiring for the team.

With Chilton also revelling in his new-found role in F1, he said: "I feel comfortable.

"I felt ready when the decision was made to give me the race seat, and I believe in myself that I've a good chance.

"This year the car has a good chance of moving its way up the field, so I feel at home, and the team are fantastic.

"I've now a really good team-mate to work with and maybe learn from - and maybe he can learn from me - so it's a winning formula."

Unlike Albert Park, at least Chilton has experience of the Sepang International Circuit that this weekend hosts the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Chilton finished third in the first race of the two rounds of the GP2 championship last year, so is aware of the energy-sapping heat and humidity that dominate proceedings.

Although Sunday's race is almost twice the distance of the GP2 event, Chilton has no doubts about his fitness to cope with the demands.

"The main thing with this circuit is the heat," said Chilton.

"It was a tough race last year, but I can tell it doesn't feel as hot as last year, so I don't need to worry about that.

"In GP2 we're used to a race of an hour maximum. In F1 there is a limit of two hours, but they're usually around 40 minutes longer.

"That 40 minutes does make a difference, and then there are the g-forces, but the power steering makes that easier to cope with.

"Physically, you need to be more specific on what you're working for. It's not a big leap up, you just have to make it a lot more specific and focus on the areas where you need it.

"But for races like this, with the heat, there's no specific training you can do.

"You can do heat chamber work which will help, but the main thing is making sure your body is always hydrated to its absolute maximum.

"That is key. If you're not hydrated you will suffer pretty quickly."