Starting from fourteenth position on the grid, Javier Villa finished ninth in the feature race of the GP2 Asia Series in Dubai, just a place away from getting the eighth place that would have given him the pole position for the Saturday Sprint Race.
Javi was aiming for a place among the top eight, to add some more points to his tally and to get a good starting position for the second race of the weekend. However his plan of gaining positions rapidly in the first laps of today's race was in trouble when, as the lights went off, he choose the outside line on the track from his position in the seventh row of the grid, losing several places, something that really hurt his goal in the race.
In view of the race situation, Villa was one of the first to take the mandatory pit stop to change his tyres and, though strategically the decision was good, soon he had a lot of graining especially in the left front tyre, which was preventing him from running at the pace that he needed to take advantage of his early pitstop and to gain time in relation to the drivers who would stop later.
During the whole mid-section of the race, the tyre behaviour was never ideal and only near the end could the Spanish driver start pushing. However it was already too late to catch up with the group in front and, in spite of all his efforts, which including a spin without major consequences near the end of the race, Javi had to settle finally for ninth position. This is the most frustrating place to finish in a GP2 Feature Race as it's the first one that neither scores points not receives the benefit of the reverse grid system for the Sprint Race.
Already looking ahead to tomorrow's race, Villa will start from the fifth row and his focus will be on scoring some points to leave Dubai well placed in the provisional championship standings where he's currently fourth after today's results in the first of the two races due this weekend on the Arab Emirates track.
Javier Villa's own words: "Today the race did not finish as we were expecting. Initially it was difficult to be on the pace, I had a lot of graining, especially in the front left tyre, a problem that affected more cars than last year when the hard compound was used and this year it was the medium. In addition there was not all the rubber from the F1 cars on the track as then.
Now it is necessary to prepare for tomorrow's race, in which I will try to score some points to continue in the top positions of the championship."