March 17th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - The Australian Grand Prix heralded the arrival of a new talent to Formula One. Frenchman Jules Bianchi put in an inspired performance, finishing a full lap ahead of both Caterham drivers and his own team-mate.
Jules Bianchi was signed by Marussia to take the place of Luis Razia after his sponsorship fell through before the start of the season. Bianchi had only two days of testing in the Marussia MR-02 car before arriving in Australia, but showed no signs whatsoever of being unprepared when practice got underway on Friday.
Bianchi was quicker than his team-mate Max Chilton in every session of the weekend, from the first practice session on Friday to the race on Sunday. And, in a car not expected to be competing for points any time soon, he set the 11th fastest lap time of the race.
Bianchi's performance in Melbourne was not just an impressive rookie drive. It showed the maturity, confidence and sheer speed of a much more experienced driver. It's still early in the season and even earlier in his career, and there are many challenges ahead for the young Frenchman, but the initial indications are that he could be something special.