GP2

Valencia: ART Grand Prix race one, two report

The inaugural round of the 2006 GP2 championship did not bring reigning world champions, ART Grand Prix, their anticipated results. The team will however walk away from this weekend at Valencia with the knowledge that they have the competitiveness...

The inaugural round of the 2006 GP2 championship did not bring reigning world champions, ART Grand Prix, their anticipated results. The team will however walk away from this weekend at Valencia with the knowledge that they have the competitiveness to allow them to aim for victory, which will be their objective in the second round of the season, at Imola (22 & April 23).

There were a few problems in qualifying to which other various issues were added to in the race, forcing Alexandre Premat, who was running in a strong second place half way through the first race, to finish out of the points and then to retire early in race 2. Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton proved that he has the necessary talent to shine in this series - a podium on Saturday and more points the following day -- despite losing places at the start.

Frédéric Vasseur :

The feelings are mixed this evening. In regard to our level of performances, there is a good base, and we are hopeful of continuing our solid performances, but we certainly have some regrets over the course of this weekend. Alex had a succession of troubles and finished without points, while two bad starts compromised Lewis' results, which could have been much better. We are competitive, and it is now necessary for us to put all the pieces of this puzzle together to win.

Lewis Hamilton :

To come to the first race and finish second is great, and it's a great starting point for me -- it's my first race in GP2; the team has done a great job here. I had a bit of a problem at the start (I heated the clutch too much or something, and it was slipping), and didn't really get off the line too well, but the team did a good job with the pitstop and we came away with second. The second race could have been better but I had another problem at the start and then got caught in the traffic.

Alexandre Prémat :

A difficult weekend! We had the potential to finish on the podium twice and to return empty handed is a hard blow. I had a good start in the first race and took Lopez in the 2nd turn. The pit stop went well and I found myself in second position, 2.7 seconds behind Piquet. Suddenly I found myself without brakes, with oil leaking onto my back tyres. To keep the car on the track under these conditions was very difficult and I am very disappointed not to have been able to keep 2nd place. We had the potential to have two brilliant races even if our qualifying performance was not that satisfactory. I am ready for Imola where I hope to quickly wipe this Valencia memory!

-www.art-gp2.com

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About this article
Series GP2
Drivers Lewis Hamilton , Alexandre Prémat , Frederic Vasseur
Teams ART Grand Prix