Max Chilton created a piece of history in his debut Formula 1 campaign when he became the first rookie to finish all the season's races.
Last Updated: 07/02/14 10:00am
Max Chilton created a piece of history in his debut Formula 1 campaign when he became the first rookie to finish every race of the season.
Achieved away from the pressures of fighting for victories and podiums it may have been as the British youngster invariably found himself limited to scraps over the back row with Marussia, the fact the accomplishment had previously eluded the 700-plus drivers to take to an F1 grid nonetheless reflected rather well on the GP2 graduate.
With that landmark behind him, and confirmation of a second season at Marussia belatedly arriving in January, the target now for the Reigate-born driver is to build of the experiences of 2014 and increase his intra-team challenge to Jules Bianchi.
Like most young drivers striving to learn their trade, Chilton started his motorsport career in karting, before graduating to the now defunct T-Car Championship for drivers aged 14-17 in 2005.
He finished runner-up in the drivers' standings in his second season but opted to skip the traditional Formula Renault/BMW route and instead jumped straight to British Formula Three with the Arena team, which also ran his brother, Tom, in the British Touring Car Championship.
2008 saw a switch to Hitech Racing and Chilton's first pole position and podium finish in British F3. In 2009 he joined Carlin and took his first victory in the series in the final race of the season at Brands Hatch. He finished fourth in the standings, 104 points behind runaway winner and Carlin team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.
Chilton moved to GP2 in 2010 with Ocean Racing Technology and scored three points in his debut season. In 2011, Carlin entered GP2 and Chilton switched back to the British squad, finishing 20th in the standings with four points.
But 2012 and year three proved his big breakthrough at that level. With Marussia now backing the Carlin team, results immediately improved and Chilton scored his first ever GP2 podium at the season-opening race in Malaysia. Maiden race victories in Hungary and on the streets of Singapore followed and he finished fourth in the standings with 169 points, pipping fellow young Briton James Calado.
Chilton's increasing racing maturity, and on-track results, led him to test Marussia's F1 car at July's Silverstone Young Driver Test and a strong performance there earned him the team's reserve driver role for the final six grands prix of the season.
A debut practice appearance at Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina circuit appeared to provide near-certain confirmation that a 2013 race seat beckoned and Marussia's subsequent mid-December confirmation ensured Chilton could enjoy the ultimate of Merry Christmases.
Initially supposed to partner fellow GP2 graduate Luiz Razia in the Banbury team's new F1 line-up, the 11th hour arrival of Bianchi in place of the Brazilian towards the end of pre-season undoubtedly increased the challenge for Chilton in his debut year owing to the Frenchman's own stellar pedigree and greater F1 testing experience.
While outperformed by Bianchi over the balance of the season, Chilton's year did have a couple of standout moments - a season-best 14th place in Monaco and outdriving Bianchi on merit in the gruelling night-time conditions of Singapore. In 2014 such performances now need to prove the rule rather than the exception for F1's third Briton.