Chilton thrilled by 'fantastic' F1 debut as Booth predicts a seat on the 2013 grid

21-year-old British driver delighted after debut

Last Updated: 20/12/12 10:38am

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Max Chilton was understandably thrilled with his first taste of F1 during Practice One at Abu Dhabi, finishing within a second of experienced Marussia team-mate Timo Glock.

The GP2 race winner was appointed reserve driver at the team ahead of the Singapore GP and sufficiently impressed John Booth on his debut this Friday for the Marussia team boss to declare afterwards: "I'm sure he will get a 2013 drive."

The first installment of the 21-year-old's session was spent completing engine tests for the team before getting his head down and setting very respectable times.

As the dust cleared from the track and Chilton's confidence increased he set a 1:53.900 on lap 9, 1:51.097 on lap 10, and 1:49.666 on lap 11 - eventually finishing with a best time of 1:48.887. That was only 0.996 slower than Glock who is nearing the end of his third year with the team.

"That was fantastic," a delighted Chilton told Sky Sports. "For the first few laps I just had a huge smile on my face and was enjoying every moment, but then I had to settle down and work through the programme the team needed.

"We did two runs of engine testing, then we got out of the car for about 20 minutes and then I did two eight lap runs which went well as I got within a second of Timo.

"In the second one I started to lose the tyres which Timo said he was struggling with as well, but I managed to get a lap together at the end and we were a good three or four tenths up on highest engine setting and I got held up by an HRT car so I didn't get to put the lap in, which is a real shame as I would have been much nearer the pace."

His ability to gather data was something that impressed Team Principal John Booth during the session.

"I am delighted," the Marussia boss said.

"He dealt well with some technical stuff in the first part of the session - data we needed for the rest of the weekend which he carried out with no problem at all. Then he got a run at the end and he did a competitive job finishing only a second behind Timo."

Booth stressed, however, that the session will not have any impact on Chilton's prospects of getting a drive with the team 2013.

"This makes no difference," he added. "We knew how good he was from the young driver test at Silverstone so this has no impact at all. It was just great for him to get the experience.

"I'm sure he will get a 2013 drive. Not necessarily with us, but I am sure he will get one."

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