Bridgestone Motorsport's GP2 Asia Series Report Romain Grosjean (ART Grand Prix) and Kamui Kobayashi (Dams) claimed a win apiece this weekend during round four of the inaugural five round GP2 Asia Series. Grosjean was the first to take honours...
Bridgestone Motorsport's GP2 Asia Series Report
Romain Grosjean (ART Grand Prix) and Kamui Kobayashi (Dams) claimed a win apiece this weekend during round four of the inaugural five round GP2 Asia Series. Grosjean was the first to take honours with a win in Saturday's 34 lap Feature Race after setting a pole position time of 1m42.661secs on Friday afternoon and, combined with a point for fastest lap, it was this 13 point haul which has now sealed his GP2 Asia Series title. For Japan's Kobayashi it was another opportunity to shine in front of the F1 paddock as his 23-lap Sprint Race win this afternoon was his second Sprint win in consecutive race weekends.
For the GP2 Asia drivers this weekend's races at the Bahrain International Circuit provided another tough challenge and good tyre management to cope with the potential high degradation rates on the sandy track was a key requirement for the budding stars.
Saturday's thrilling Sprint race got off to a clean start by the front group but Lucas Filippi (Qi Meritus Mahara) and Marco Bonanomi (Piquet Sports) crashed out, causing the Safety Car to be deployed and it was during this period that the majority of the cars came in to make their compulsory tyre changes. Despite leading in the early stages of the race, Karun Chandhok (iSport International) gave away his advantage after spinning off while Grosjean meanwhile began his climb up through the field, soon taking the lead. With the majority of the field battling behind him, he was clear to cross the finish line and take the chequered flag 12 seconds ahead of second placed Sebastien Buemi (Trust Arden) and third placed Kobayashi. Bruno Senna (iSport International) claimed the fourth spot followed by Adrian Valles (Fisichella Motorsport International), Davide Valsecchi (Durango), Diego Nunes (DPR) and Chandhok.
While Senna had the misfortune to not start Sunday's Sprint Race due to a mechanical problem, Chandhok and Nunes led away from the front row of the grid only to touch and negate their advantage and leave Vitaly Petrov (Barwa International Campos Team) in the lead. Grosjean had a storming start and was again making his way forward but his luck ran out as brake problems saw him retire mid race. Kobayashi meanwhile was ready to pounce and claimed his second sprint race win of the season, crossing the line 0.861 seconds ahead of Buemi, who also set fastest race lap on lap 19, illustrating his good use of the Bridgestone Potenza slicks. The third podium place went to Russian Petrov and although the points difference between him and Grosjean in the Drivers' Championship is an attainable 20 points, with three wins and a second place, Grosjean claims the Drivers' Championship with 48 points, 20 ahead of Petrov.
Buemi meanwhile lies in third place in the Drivers' Championship with 24 points. In the Teams' Championship, ART Grand Prix continue to lead on 48 points followed by Barwa International Campos Team on 34 and the iSport International team on 30. The GP2 Asia Series now returns to Dubai for the final round of the championship where it will form part of the Grand Racing Weekend from 11-12 April.
Quote from Tetsuro Kobayashi - Technical Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport "Bridgestone's GP2 Asia slick tyres performed well this weekend providing good warm up and grip levels. On the contrary to the last three rounds, the management of tyre degradation was a challenge for the drivers here in Bahrain. For example, those drivers who pushed hard had relatively big degradation so the drivers needed to think how to manage and get the most out of their tyres in both races. Grosjean and Kobayashi did a good job in managing their tyres and this was reflected in their results. Conversely, Buemi, who needed to push as he was further down the grid, was exciting to watch as he had to cope with higher degradation rates. But, there was a lot of overtaking in both races, providing some exciting racing once again and we are very pleased that our tyres have played a part in achieving that."