New challenge and new faces for the second round of the new season.
The GP2 Series action resumes this week at Bahrain International Circuit for the second round of the 2013 season. Following a strong opening round in Malaysia which saw him score pole position, one podium, one win and a fastest lap, Stefano Coletti arrives in Sakhir leading the drivers’ standings, eleven points ahead of Fabio Leimer. Meanwhile, the Swiss driver added a feature race win to his record in Kuala Lumpur last month and will be hungry for more glory this weekend. But of course, as always in GP2 where nothing is predictable, these two men will not be the only ones in the hunt for podium finishes. The list of contenders has grown even bigger this week with the addition of two talented rookies to the field, namely Robin Frijns at Hilmer and Alexander Rossi at Caterham Racing.
The conditions will be quite similar in Bahrain to those in Kuala Lumpur except for the humidity level of course. With a total of fifteen corners, most of them requiring heavy braking, and a sandy track, the 5.412km long Bahraini circuit may offer wide run off area, but remains challenging for both the drivers and the cars. Tyre management will once again be key. Pirelli have nominated the P Zero Orange hard tyre and P Zero Yellow soft tyre for the weekend. The step between the prime and the option tyres opens to more strategy choices and the deliberate increased degradation will push the drivers to adapt their driving style to it.
"In Malaysia we saw exactly the degree of degradation that we had aimed for, which was enough to make the drivers think about strategy but not so much that it detracted from the racing. There was also a performance gap between the two compounds of about half a second – and we would expect the degradation and performance to be similar in Bahrain. Once again, there should be plenty of opportunity for teams to use different strategies: a bold choice can often pay off. We’d expect free practice to take place using the hard tyre, so the teams will probably go into qualifying using the soft tyre for the first time only. Depending on the data obtained, the teams should then be in a strong position to prepare an effective strategy.”
James Calado will be dropped 10 placed on the Feature Race starting grid following a penalty handed in Kuala Lumpur after the sprint race.