AUTOSPORT Awards 2013: Jules Bianchi wins Rookie of the Year
|By Scott Mitchell||Sunday, December 1st 2013, 23:03 GMT|
Marussia Formula 1 driver Jules Bianchi has been named AUTOSPORT Rookie of the Year at the AUTOSPORT Awards in London.
The Frenchman denied F1 team-mate Max Chilton, fellow rookies Valtteri Bottas and Esteban Gutierrez, British Touring Car Championship race winner Sam Tordoff and Formula Renault 3.5 runner-up Stoffel Vandoorne to win the award.
Bianchi, a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy, joins a list of winners that includes F1 world champions Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, and the late Dan Wheldon.
He was presented with his award by three-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner and 2013 World Endurance champion Allan McNish.
"It has been a great season for me. I didn't expect to be on the grid in February, so the contract with Marussia was great and it's been nice ever since," Bianchi said.
"Tenth was great for us, and now we look forward for next year.
"The team did a great job and straight away I felt good. Next year will be a great challenge but I think we can do good things."
Bianchi made his F1 graduation with Marussia - with whom he has re-signed for 2014 - after finishing runner-up to Robin Frijns in the 2012 FR3.5 title race.
He impressed in his first three races for the minnow, recording a trio of top 15 finishes, including a season's best of 13th in Malaysia.
That result ensured he ended his rookie year 19th in the standings, ahead of Chilton and Caterham drivers Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde.
It also guaranteed Marussia beat its rivals to the lucrative 10th place in the constructors' championship, the team's best result in its short history.