Max Chilton believes that learning to minimize the time lost to blue flags is a priority after his Formula 1 debut in the Australian Grand Prix.
The 21-year-old lost time early in the race after a long pit stop to replace a front wing damaged by clipping the back of Giedo van der Garde's Caterham as it returned from an off-track moment. This meant that Chilton was being lapped earlier in the race than he might have been, which made it difficult to lap consistently.
The FIA takes a hard line on blue flags, with drivers given drive-through penalties if they fail to cede position to cars that are lapping them.
"The team did say it's a bit of an art and that it would take more than the first race to get used to it," Chilton told said. "I had already started learning toward the end of the race how to do it and how much you can gain by doing it at the right point.
"I'm learning, I'll work on it and see how it is in Malaysia. Hopefully, we'll not get the blue flags [so early] next time and be able to go from there."
He added that his run to 17th place in Australia was compromised not only by blue flags but also by the amount of time he spent stuck behind van der Garde. The blue flags and the number of times that the Dutchman could activate the DRS thanks to the faster cars meant that Chilton lost a lot of time battling with him. He eventually got ahead with nine laps to go and then pulled out over 26sec by the checkered flag.
"Every time I caught him, I'd see him go off in the distance again because of the blue flags," said Chilton. "And whenever I caught him, he'd get the DRS from cars that had just overtaken him, so it took far too long to get past. But when we did get past, I pulled away really quickly and the car showed its potential."