Kamui Kobayashi (Dams) and Sergio Perez (Barwa International Campos Team) both took race wins this week in the third round of the Bridgestone-supported GP2 Asia Series at the Bahrain International Circuit. First to impress though was rookie Nico...
Kamui Kobayashi (Dams) and Sergio Perez (Barwa International Campos Team) both took race wins this week in the third round of the Bridgestone-supported GP2 Asia Series at the Bahrain International Circuit.
First to impress though was rookie Nico Hulkenburg (ART Grand Prix) after qualifying for Friday's race in pole position with a time of 1min 41.351secs. The time was 0.125 seconds faster than Jerome D'Ambrosio (Dams), who was second fastest. Kobayashi made it two Dams drivers in the top three.
Bridgestone's medium compound GP2 Series slick tyre was used in Bahrain, with Japan's Kobayashi using it to perfection in the 34-lap Feature Race to jump up to second place after D'Ambrosio was slow off the mark at the start. After some hard fighting and intense pressure, Kobayashi took the lead on lap 14. Hulkenburg meanwhile was the first of the front runners to pit on lap 17, changing his rear tyres. He paid the penalty though for a long stop and dropped vital time and places. Kobayashi didn't stop until lap 20 and unlike his main competitors he changed his two left side tyres, a tactic used previously in Dubai. He retained the lead and with Hulkenburg now in fourth it was teammate D'Ambrosio and rookie Edoardo Mortara (Arden International) who were second and third respectively. Despite renewed efforts from Hulkenburg, the top three remained unchanged as they crossed the line, giving Dams a pleasing 1-2. An extra point also went to the race winner Kobayashi for setting the fastest lap with a time of 1min 43.604 on lap 23.
Saturday's reverse grid Sprint Race saw Mexican driver Perez win from pole, after leading for all 23 laps. It was his first GP2 Asia Series win. Davide Valsecchi (Durango) finished second with the two front runners retaining their opening lap positions all the way to the finish. D'Ambrosio took third position after an impressive performance which saw him climb through the field. Diego Nunes (Piquet GP) set the race's fastest lap, a 1min 43.913secs, on lap 5.
Leaving Bahrain, Kobayashi leads the drivers' championship on 34 points from Valsecchi on 24. Roldan Rodriguez is in third on 22 points. Dams leads the teams' championship with 51 points from Durango on 24. Piquet GP is third on 22 points. The next round of the GP2 Asia Series is scheduled for February 13-14 at the Losail Circuit in Qatar.
Quote from Kentaro Yamamoto - Bridgestone Motorsport GP2 Series Engineer
"After using the hard specification GP2 slick tyre at this track last year we decided to go a step softer to the medium compound and we are pleased to see that it has performed well. Although the cars were not running with Formula One the track was clean from the start, resulting in faster laps times than expected and, combined with the medium tyre, a faster qualifying time was set this year by 1.3 seconds. The drivers did not have it easy though. They had rear tyre degradation and a higher wear rate and so had to manage their tyres and drive skilfully in both races. We're very pleased that by changing to the medium compound slick tyre that we have contributed to two very exciting races here this week."