Javier Villa will start from the fifth row of the grid for the first race of the 2008 GP2 series after setting the ninth fastest time in today's qualifying session held at the circuit of Montmelo. A positive result that should have been better but...
Javier Villa will start from the fifth row of the grid for the first race of the 2008 GP2 series after setting the ninth fastest time in today's qualifying session held at the circuit of Montmelo. A positive result that should have been better but for the way the final minutes of qualifying developed, with a red flag that ended up compromising the Spanish driver's result when a place in the top five was within his reach.
The day started with the free practice session, where Javi focused on working on the car setup after not finding it totally to his liking in its initial configuration. This meant that his best time wasn't very good, just 18th fastest, although he ended up the session confident on having found a good setup for his Dallara after making a few changes on it.
The opening laps of the session that decided the first starting grid of the season showed the Dallara was now right as Villa ran fast and consistently, finding the car behavior much improved. It was then that bad luck hit in the way of a red flag following an incident, bearing in mind that little time was still available and thinking that some other incident could arise in the always hectic final minutes of qualifying, Villa and his team decided to immediately fit a set of fresh tyres in order to set his fastest lap as soon as possible, but soon he realised that it would have been better waiting a little longer. The final minutes passed really quickly and the laptimes were improving as time went by, meaning that several drivers outscored Villa, pushing him into the ninth position.
Nevertheless the result is good as it puts Villa in a position near the front and good enough to fight from the start for the point scoring places. It will be crucial to have a good start and to make a good strategic choice for the mandatory pit stop of the feature race in order that Javi has a chance of getting a good result by the time the chequered flag falls at the end of the first race of the year.
Javier Villa's own words:
"Tomorrow we are starting from fifth row which is not that bad, I'll have to go through the first few laps and then we will see. Today in qualifying we had a good pace and that's the most important thing. In free practice we started badly, with some changes in the car we were testing at Paul Ricard that didn't work here, so we had to make a step back in the car setup and in qualifying we were way faster even if the track wasn't as good. Then we had a red flag and while others decided to stay on worn tyres we went for a set of fresh ones as they were only 12 minutes left and we feared we would not have time to do it later. We did a good lap time but those that changed tyres later were improving and we ended up ninth, albeit just 2/3 tenths from the top five, more or less the improvement due to the better track conditions in the final minutes."