Arthur Pic may have had a weekend to forget in Bahrain but the Frenchman believes that he has cause for optimism heading into the next round in Barcelona.
Pic’s weekend started off quite well, the Campos Racing driver qualified in fourth for the opening feature race but was hampered immediately as the ART of Nobuharu Matsushita stalled on the grid. This meant Pic had to swerve and therefore fell into the clutches of the chasing pack.
Pic fell to fifth but swiftly regained places, including passing the battling Raffaele Marciello and Norman Nato for third.
On the same lap though Nato out-braked himself and hit Pic’s right rear at turn 8 which sent the Frenchman into a spin. The resulting spin ended the race for Pic as he was hit by a helpless Pierre Gasly.
Nato picked up a three-place grid penalty for race two but this was of no consolation to Pic who believed a podium was on the cards.
“The car felt great all weekend and I’m confident that without the accident a podium was there for the taking,” said Pic. “There was still a long way to go in that race and a lot can happen in GP2, but practice and qualifying had both shown we had front-running pace, so to not capitalise on that is obviously very frustrating.”
The incident with Nato didn’t just ruin Pic’s chances in the feature race it also hampered his sprint race chances. He had to start from the back of the grid but had a spirited drive to finish 10th.
“It isn’t just the podium either: the DNF completely compromised our Sprint Race chances,” said an agitated Pic. “Norman apologised afterwards but there’s no doubt I lost a lot of valuable points this weekend. The championship is so strong that we can’t afford any more of those.”
Tyre degradation rules both races in Bahrain and some handled the lack of grip better than others. In the sprint race Pic found the perfect balance between pushing hard and preserving tyre life.
“Pirelli’s compounds were softer than last year, which made life very tricky in the warmer conditions compared with 12 months ago,” Pic explained. “I had the pace to be running at the front so needed to be aggressive with the way I cut through the pack while also factoring in degradation.
“It was therefore pleasing to still be overtaking guys at the end, even if there were no points on offer. I just did my best with what I had.”