Alonso sure Bianchi has a great career ahead of him

Mon May 26, 2014 9:43am EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

MONACO (Reuters) - Jules Bianchi's stunning race into the points with tiny Marussia at the Monaco Grand Prix could be the start of something big for the French Formula One driver, according to Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.

The Spaniard, who started his own F1 career with now-defunct minnows Minardi, is a friend and traveling companion of Bianchi who is also under contract to Ferrari as part of their young driver academy.

"We spend a lot of time together in Maranello, we play football, we go cycling, we travel together on the same plane for some races," he told reporters after Bianchi finished eighth on the track and ninth after a penalty was taken into account.

"He’s a friend and I’m extremely happy for him and very proud of what his result will mean for him in his career. I have no doubt it will be a good career," continued double world champion Alonso.

"Hopefully with this result he can have a more competitive car next year and show his talent even more."

The points, in a showcase race watched by many millions around the world, were cash-starved Marussia's first in more than four years of trying and propelled the Ferrari-powered team to ninth in the constructors' standings, ahead of Ferrari-powered Sauber.

Marussia team principal John Booth agreed that Bianchi was destined for a bigger stage.

"I think he’s ready to go now. If they (Ferrari) need him, I think he’s ready to go," he told Reuters. "I think he’s got a long career in F1. Absolute top driver."   Continued...

Marussia Formula One driver Jules Bianchi of France drives during the second in-season test at Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) in Sakhir south of Manama, April 9, 2014. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed