The speed was there – not the points!
In Bahrain Lady Luck deserted the DAMS team and it left the kingdom without scoring any points. It was an unsuccessful meeting for the French squad peppered with race incidents. However, the final result does not reflect the competitiveness of the team, which it proved on Friday, in particular.
The weekend got off to a flying start as Marcus Ericsson and Stéphane Richelmi were among the front-runners in free practice and in qualifying. The two drivers made up for their Malaysian setback with second (Ericsson) and sixth (Richelmi) places on the grid.
Thanks to his speed he was fighting his way back when he was rearended by another car breaking the wing. Not a whit discouraged he rejoined and managed to get back up to thirteenth place in the first heat. Stéphane fluffed his start and lost two places straightaway.
He managed to up the pace and looked on course for sixth spot although under threat from a hard-charging Robin Frijns. The Dutchman launched an attack and unfortunately the result was a damaged front wheel for Richelmi resulting in premature retirement. On Sunday things didn't get any better for DAMS. In the pushing and shoving in the first corner Ericsson's rear wing was damaged forcing him to retire on lap 5 and Richelmi, who started in last place, could only fight his way up to thirteenth when the flag fell.
There was no way the reigning double title-winning team could be happy with a couple of thirteenth places, although the speed shown this weekend is the best antidote to dispel the blues before the next rendezvous in Barcelona!
François Sicard, managing director: "The weekend didn't turn out as we'd hoped. The team did a good job but race incidents ruined Marcus's and Stéphane's races. It goes without saying that we're disappointed with the result, but this hasn't dented our optimism thanks to the performance of the cars.
The two drivers were quick in qualifying and their speed in the race was on a par with the best. So now we're concentrating on Spain where our aim is to score a big haul of points."
Marcus Ericsson: "I'm very disappointed by this weekend. At the start of the first race the lights procedure was longer than I expected and I stalled. Then in the race I was harpooned by another driver and this broke my wing.
When I rejoined I was very quick - faster than the leader! So even if I'm very frustrated today for myself and for the team, I know that we've got the performance and that we can fight for victory at the next round."
Stéphane Richelmi: "After my qualifying performance I was expecting greater things. I didn't make a good start in the first heat and I lost places. After that my pace was good and I was heading for sixth place when Robin Frijns tried to pass me and launched an attack from very far back.
I did everything I could to avoid him but he hit me and there was too much damage for me to continue. I started last in the sprint and I did everything I could to preserve my tyres for the end of the race, while fighting my way up through the field.
However, the tyre degradation isn't as heavy this year so I couldn't get any higher than thirteenth. Although I'm obviously disappointed, I'm feeling confident for Barcelona as we've got the speed and with a little bit of luck the results will start to come in."