Mid-Season Review: Bianchi vs. Chilton

Marussia Monaco

Ahead of F1's return to action at Spa we're taking a look at how the drivers are faring against their team-mates. Next up, the steadily improving Marussia squad.

It is fitting that a team which began life as Virgin Racing took a very, very long time to pop their F1 cherry. Jules Bianchi secured the outfit's first points in Monaco to almost universal cheers from fans. Even those within the sport - save perhaps for the guys and girls at Caterham - were pleased for the Banbury-based team.

Their improvement this term has been aided by an unchanged driver lineup - the first in their history - and, in particular, the skills of Ferrari protege Bianchi. They will be desperate to hang on to him for another year and make further progress in 2015.

Jules Bianchi - Highest start: 12th. Highest finish: 9th

2014 has played out nicely for Bianchi. The Frenchman wrote his name in the history books by scoring Marussia's first F1 points and caught everyone's attention by knocking Kimi Raikkonen out of qualifying in Hungary. No matter that the Finn's exit was down to a strategy error from Ferrari; Bianchi's success was beautifully symbolic for a man hunting a seat with the Scuderia.

But it’s hard to get a handle on just how good the Frenchman is. He is beating Chilton, but the Brit has never been seen as a standout talent, making him an unreliable benchmark. For that reason Ferrari must consider placing him with a more competitive team before promoting him to the big time.

Max Chilton - Highest start: 17th. Highest finish: 13th

2014 has seen Chilton show some improvement, though he largely remains in Bianchi's shadow. Qualifying is 8-3 to the Frenchman, while Jules secured the headline-grabbing points in Monaco. Meanwhile Max continues to take the chequered flag a long way down on his team-mate, suggesting he has no answer to Bianchi’s race pace.

That is not to say Chilton has embarrassed himself. He is an intelligent young man who has gone about his job in a quiet, professional manner. He is not going to win a world title, but if he continues with this approach he could be a Formula 1 driver for some time yet. That said, he will be expected to bring money for the privilege.

VERDICT: Bianchi is clearly on top, though Chilton continues to display intelligence, if not speed.