Charging Razia takes second in Sakhir
Arden driver Luiz Razia emerged as one of the stars of this weekend’s opening GP2 Series race at Sakhir, Bahrain. After qualifying ninth, the Brazilian lined up eighth – rival Marcus Ericsson (iSport) having been given a penalty for causing an accident last time out in Malaysia – and scythed through the field to hold third place by the time the safety car came out on lap 17, to allow accident debris to be cleared.
Razia exerted huge pressure on rival James Calado (Lotus GP) when the race resumed at the end of lap 19 – and five laps later he dived ahead to cement second place. Leader Davide Valsecchi (DAMS) was out of reach by then, but Razia’s stirring drive underlined the strength of his title challenge. He will start tomorrow’s sprint race from seventh place.
Team-mate Simon Trummer made good early progress, moving from 24th to 17th. The Swiss might have continued his impressive through the field, but progress was stifled by a drive-through penalty – incurred for speeding in the pit lane during his mandatory tyre change – and he was eventually classified 16th.
Luiz Razia comments:
“We knew yesterday that the car was fast enough to qualify in the top three – and the race would definitely have been easier if I’d been able to do that! I’m very happy, though, with my performance – and have to thank the team for doing such a good job with the car. “I stayed at the circuit until 10pm last night, discussing set-ups with my engineer as we contemplated how to preserve tyres over a race distance. We made some fairly significant changes and the car felt good right away on the soft tyres. If I had pitted two laps earlier, I might have been able to jump both Max Chilton and James Calado, but I was still behind them when the safety car came out. Calado gave me a hard time, but eventually I worked my way ahead of both and was then able to run at a controlled pace in clear air. It was too late to catch Davide Valsecchi, but second still feels like a remarkable result given where I started. I hope for more of the same tomorrow.”
Simon Trummer comments:
“I made a flying start, picked up a few places and seemed to have pretty good pace. I was up to sixth on the road by the time I came in for my stop. I know that was a result of other guys already having pitted, but I was on target to rejoin in about 10th and really that’s where I should have finished. The speeding penalty compromised my afternoon, of course, so I have to reflect on a possible points finish that got away. It was an encouraging race in many ways, though, and I’ll try to build on that in the sprint.”