Stéphane Richelmí: "To confirm our potential in a month we will be in Bahrain where I will try to improve my 5th place in the overall standings GP2."
The first weekend of the season is already behind us! The free practice started rather slowly with a tenth place. Not great considering the winter tests, but I did my time in the first round and then I was 3rd, then I haven't improved. However, the car was fast and I was confident for qualifying.
At 3:55pm we started to get serious. All the drivers had two sets of soft tires and the first round offered the best performance. In Sector 1, my time was pink, which means that I made the record, then on lap 5, I didn't leave enough gas and my car is shifted to 220 km/h...
I continued to finish the lap and at turn 12 I went too wide and I lost a few tenths. I tried to do the time in another lap, but I have improved only 5 cents because the tires quickly lose their effectiveness.
I put a second set of tires and I did a good lap, but I lost 3 tenths in the first corner because of Berthon who was warming up the tires. In any case I wouldn't get in the Top 10 with this second train... The season started with a cold shower!
The next day, I knew that with our car in race conditions we could remount in the course of the 31 laps. From the second sector of the first lap, I was seventh, but a driver has been getting the rear tire with his front wing and sent me on the grass making even hurt a shoulder.
After the time to recover, I started again but I was behind. Being in this position, we make the pit stop on lap 6 just open the pit area. Then, I pushed as far as possible to surpass most of the drivers.
The constancy of my car has allowed me to get at 8th place, and I fought for 9 laps with Evans because I was faster. I won the Pole in Race 2. (reversed grid for the firsts 8 drivers).
For the 'Sprint Race', the start from the Pole is ideal since there is no mandatory pit stop and then the positions are easier to maintain. But you have to stay first in the first hundred meters when the tires aren't yet fully up to temperature.
After a good start, Coletti passed me with a good operation in the second curve. Then, in that condition, Nasr passed me because I made a stop at the first corner of the next lap.
When I was 3rd, I was sorry to be behind because I could easily follow them. Just four laps from the end, I braked on the right in the last corner and I locked the front wheels, leading to the outside and, therefore, in the dirt.
Evans passed me and I could not overtake him again before ... So I finished in a good fourth place, but a bit disappointing given our performance.
To confirm our potential in a month we will be in Bahrain where I will try to improve my 5th place in the overall standings GP2."