Podium for Villa, points for Pic Arden drivers Javier Villa and Charles Pic finished third and fifth respectively in today's GP2 Asia Series race at the Sakhir International Circuit, Bahrain. Villa made a fantastic start from the second...
Podium for Villa, points for Pic
Arden drivers Javier Villa and Charles Pic finished third and fifth respectively in today's GP2 Asia Series race at the Sakhir International Circuit, Bahrain.
Villa made a fantastic start from the second row of the grid and challenged Luca Filippi (Meritus) for the lead during the race's opening stages. With no way through, however, the Spaniard made an early tyre stop -- and the combination of fresh Bridgestones and a clear track enabled him to run quickly enough to take the lead once Filippi had pitted.
Villa continued to head the field until the race's final stages, when championship leader Davide Valsecchi (iSport) passed Filippi and moved up to challenge for the lead. The Italian ran wide after briefly moving ahead, but then completed a successful pass before going on to score his third win of the campaign and clinch the title. With his tyres fading at the end of a long stint, Villa's pace dropped off towards the end and ultimately he had to settle for third, behind Filippi.
Team-mate Charles Pic also drove a fine race, running at a competitive pace throughout and picking his way through from ninth on the grid to finish fifth.
"That was an enjoyable race. I made a good start to move into second and was very close to Luca Filippi. Jules Bianchi was slow away from pole and perhaps, if I hadn't had to drive around him, I could have taken the lead straight away.
"I think the team's strategy was correct, in the circumstances, and the car was definitely very quick -- my fastest lap confirms that much. I felt very comfortable, but my long second stint eventually took its toll and during the final 15 laps I could feel the rear tyres going off. The last few laps were very tough, but that's a consequence of the gamble we took with our early tyre stop.
"It is disappointing that things worked out like that, but our next race supports the Bahrain Grand Prix. There will be lots of F1 rubber on the track and I believe our car will work even better in those conditions."
"I got off the line well, gained two places at the first corner and then pushed hard for the first few laps to stay close to the cars in front. I was really pleased with my in and out laps, either side of my pit stop, and the team did a really good job to get the tyres changed quickly. That put me up to fourth and the car felt really well balanced at the start of my second stint, but then the tyres started to fade and Giacomo Ricci began to catch me. I defended as hard as I could, but with six laps to go he passed me.
"I was ninth yesterday, fifth today and I start third on the grid tomorrow, so I hope things will keep moving in the same direction. I still need to improve my performance through sector two, but will sit down to discuss this with my engineer. I'm sure I can be even stronger tomorrow."