What a difference a race weekend makes... The GP2 field was ruled by Romain Grosjean after Istanbul, but it was Giedo van der Garde who took the lead of the Series after a strong Barcelona round which saw the Dutchman start from pole position and finish second in the feature race. His squad, Barwa Addax, is still the “team to beat” with Charles Pic triumphing at Circuit de Catalunya in the feature race, mastering the tricks of strategy and tyre degradation. In the sprint race, Fabio Leimer put Rapax back on the map with a lights-to-flag win, and overcame with style a nightmarish qualifying session on Friday.
But one man is still standing strong and looking good as a title contender: Sam Bird is the only driver who has scored in every single race this season, and finished three times on the podium. With the same amount of points as Series leader van der Garde, Bird will be looking this week for his first pole position and his first win in 2011 to snatch the control of the standings from the Dutchman’s hands.
The task will be hard however, as the GP2 field stops this week in Monaco for some highly anticipated street racing. The prestigious circuit in Monte Carlo is one of the drivers’ favourites if only because winning in the Principalty is always special. With four winners in as many races and so many talents behind the wheel, the race for the GP2 Series seventh crown has never been so wide open.
A word from Pirelli
Although the supersoft compound degrades more than the other tyres in the P Zero range, the low-speed nature of the 3.340-kilometre circuit means the tyre will not be subjected to significant wear as Pirelli’s Racing Manager, Mario Isola, explained: “Monaco will be the only GP2 round where we will bring our supersoft compound tyres because we do not expect to encounter significant levels of tyre degradation.”
“Being a street circuit, Monaco is slow in terms of average speed but it will still be a very challenging and special experience for our young drivers, who will have to contend with its twisty layout and slippery surfaces,” said Isola. “The Pirelli P Zero soft slicks should provide them with the grip they need to put on a great show for all the fans.”
There will be one driver change this weekend: Oliver Turvey replaces Mikhail Aleshin at Carlin.
Jules Bianchi penalised
Lotus ART driver loses grid positions in this Friday’s feature race
It’s a tough start to the race weekend for Jules Bianchi in Monaco as the marshals have handed him today a penalty following an incident which took place in Barcelona last week.
It was found that Bianchi had caused a collision with Giedo van der Garde at the start of the sprint race last Sunday. The Frenchman – who was not available after the race as he was being checked at the hospital – was handed a five grid position penalty which will no doubt harden his task during tomorrow’s qualifying session.