Circuit De Catalunya
Gonzalez battles back in GP2 at Barcelona
Venezuelan Rodolfo Gonzalez, racing in GP2 for Trident Racing, battled back in Race 2 to finish strongly in top 10 in race 2 after another crash at the start of the race brought out the safety car.
With just two weeks from the last GP2 Main Series round held at Istanbul, Gonzalez & his Trident Racing team was back on-track for the second meeting at Barcelona. Qualifying was held on Friday, which opened the official on-track activity, with Gonzalez ending up only 18th.
Gonzalez commented after qualifying “Compared to Istanbul I found a good feel with the car. I think it has really improved in suiting my driving style, and I really liked the overall balance. Unfortunately, with my second set of tyres I faced a lot of traffic. However, I'm quite confident for Sunday’s race 2. I believe that with a good management of tyres and without incidents we'll be able to aim at a points spot”.
The first race started straight after the Formula 1 qualifying so the track had been rubbered in and at with two safety car periods this caused drivers issues with their strategy. With this being the longer race a mandatory pit stop had to take place at some point during the race, with the driver choosing just to change the rear two tyres or all four tyres. The tactic of changing all four tyres did work for a few drivers who made up places.
Unfortunately Gonzalez had an early coming together with another competitor which damaged his front wing. He tried to drive around this problem but with tyre wear also causing an issue elected to make a second stop to replace front wing and rear tyres.
As Gonzalez commented “In the first stages of the race I had a slight touch with another car, damaging my front wing. Just a few laps after the mandatory pit-stop my front tyres started to wear out, and when the safety car came in I entered the pit-lane for the second time to change them together with the front wing. I restarted last and at that point any chance for a top spot was compromised”.
The 2nd GP2 race took place on the cooler Sunday morning with many interested F1 team and drivers watching on. After the lights went out a few cars at the front made a slow start which meant there was a concertina effect which meant that Bianchi & van der Garde crashed into each other and hit the wall. This brought out the safety car.
Gonzalez had been lucky as a piece from van der Garde’s car narrowly missed him but his good start meant he had made up several places (from his 20th place start) to come around after the 1st lap in 13th place. With another car being shown the black and orange flag, which meant he had to pit this moved Gonzalez into 12th place. There was two groups with Gonzalez battling hard in the middle of the 2nd group and when two other drivers crashed into each other this became 10th. He was towards the end of the race passed by the experienced Grosjean but managed to get past fellow Venezuelan Cecotto to finish in 10th place at the flag.
I'm looking forward to Monte Carlo, one of my favourite circuits.
At the end of the weekend Gonzalez summed up his Barcelona weekend and looked ahead to the following races at the Monaco street circuit.
“There's been some tense moments at the start when Van der Garde and Bianchi made contact in front of me and I was almost hit by a piece of debris from Giedo's car. Nonetheless, I managed to keep my nose clean. The car proved really consistent over the whole distance, and I didn't suffer from excessive tyre wear until 5 laps to go, when I started experiencing heavy oversteer. I believe that with no traffic I could have lapped on faster times, but that's the way it goes when you're not starting from one of the front rows. Now I'm looking forward to Monte Carlo, one of my favourite circuits. I hope for a good qualifying result in order to start my weekend in the best possible way...”
The next two races will take place on the famous and glamorous Monte Carlo street circuit on 27th & 28th May.
-source: Chris Roberts/WiderViewPhoto