Pic Secures more Points but Sato Continues to Struggle

After scoring points on debut in Bahrain, Arthur Pic continued his promising start to his GP2 rookie season by scoring again in Spain. The Campos Racing driver took sixth place in the feature race on Saturday after qualifying 13th, and then took fourth place in the Sunday sprint race.

“In race one, I initially suffered from too much wheelspin at the restart,” said Pic. “I could also feel that my soft tyres were losing performance pretty quickly, so dived into the pits early. The team did a terrific job, which allowed me to gain many places. With the reverse grid rule, it’s very important to finish in the top eight on Saturdays so I’m glad we managed to do that both in Bahrain and Barcelona.”

The Sunday morning Sprint race began on a slightly damp track, and the Frenchman believes that the more experienced drivers had an advantage, at least in the first couple of laps. But Pic conserved his tyres well and was close to his maiden GP2 podium, missing out by less than four tenths of a second to Arden International’s Tom Dillmann.

On Sunday, the track was slightly wet in the morning which gave Felipe Nasr and Jolyon Palmer – drivers with more GP2 experience – the edge at the start. Because of the cooler temperatures I then suffered from graining on the left right, but did manage to save my tyres to close in on Dillmann at the end. With a couple of extra laps I could have probably overtaken him and finished on the podium.”  

Pic has been happy with the way his season has began, especially as he is the leading rookie in the championship, just ahead of ART Grand Prix’s McLaren reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne.

“It’s great to have secured a double points finish in Barcelona this weekend. Our hard work clearly pays off on race days when tyre management is paramount. We still need to find a bit more pace over a single flying lap in free practice and qualifying because you have to be on the ball from the word go in GP2. 

“I’m also very happy to be the highest-placed rookie in the championship after two rounds, but we won’t change our approach ahead of the next event and still plan on taking them one at a time.”

His Campos Racing team-mate Kimiya Sato had a mediocre weekend in Spain, and currently cannot bring his Auto GP World Series form into his GP2 campaign. The Japanese driver qualified 17th for the feature race, but finished 19th after a drive through penalty for speeding in the pit lane. He climbed to 15th in the sprint race, but has still not scored a point in 2014.