Former Formula Renault 3.5 Series race winner Arthur Pic made his GP2 Series debut in Bahrain for Campos Racing, and was one of the stars of the feature race, conserving his tyres brilliantly to finish in fifth position. His sprint race was a more disappointing affair, finishing just outside the points after a battle with a whole host of drivers throughout the race.
The Frenchman admitted that he took a lot out of Bahrain, and will hopefully be putting the knowledge gained to good use in GP2 in 2014, starting with the second round of the season in Spain.
“I took a lot of positives from my first weekend in GP2; the whole team did an excellent job and we secured a top-10 result in qualifying and both races,” said Pic to The Checkered Flag. “It felt especially good to finish fifth during Saturday’s feature race.
“However, there is room for improvement. I need to work on the starts and learn to manage the tyres more effectively. It’s quite hard to make a good start in GP2 because the clutch is tricky to master. As a result, I suffered from excessive wheel spin at both starts but I’ll analyse the data to locate where I can improve on this before Spain. But overall I’m happy with my debut.”
Looking back at Bahrain, he was happy to mark Campos Racing’s return to the series with a good points haul, and he was also pleased to have qualified in the top ten at the first time of asking.
“Cracking the top-10 in Bahrain [in qualifying] was a good indication of the car’s ultimate speed, although we already have some ideas on how to improve our qualifying pace before the next round in Barcelona.
“I was delighted to cross the line fifth on my debut after initially targeting a top-eight finish. This is a fantastic way to mark Campos Racing’s series return and it was a great reward for the huge effort the team put in over the winter.”
After starting fourth for the sprint race he was hoping for more points but was left disappointed by falling to ninth. It was a very different race compared to the feature race that caused him more issues with the tyres.
“It was hugely frustrating to finish outside the points on Sunday. As I mentioned earlier, I punished my tyres too heavily to begin with and struggled as a result in the closing stages. Also, Stephane Richelmi tapped me two laps from the chequered flag, which dropped me down the order. I’ll learn from this race however and prioritise tyre management as the biggest area to improve on ahead of Barcelona.
“The early-afternoon temperatures meant tyre degradation in both races was difficult to manage. Therefore I decided to take a conservative approach ahead of the feature race which rewarded me with fresher rubber towards the end, enabling me to gain four positions and finish fifth.
“My sprint race was more challenging however. I pushed hard while following Felipe Nasr to begin with, resulting in a lack of rear grip as I approached the finish. I’m continuing to learn that you need to balance your speed and tyre management extremely carefully, which is an incredibly small performance window to aim for.”
Looking ahead to the second round of the season in Spain, Pic feels he is in a positive frame of mind and is confident of a solid weekend.
“The opening weekend in Bahrain gave me valuable experience, which I’ll look to build on in Spain while focusing heavily on my overall pace and starts. It would be excellent to notch up a double points finish. I’m very confident heading to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.”