ART Grand Prix left Silverstone frustrated after both Stoffel Vandoorne and Nobuharu Matsushita found themselves lacking pace and struggling with problems over the GP2 series weekend.
After holding onto provisional pole for most of qualifying, Vandoorne found himself losing out to Rapax driver Sergey Sirotkin. The Belgian driver knew his session was compromised when he made a small mistake on his last run.
“I had Pole Position on my first set of tires and I had the feeling I could improve my lap time. That’s why I pushed even harder on the second set but made a mistake,” admitted Vandoorne. “Still, second spot on the grid was a good achievement.”
Matsushita was pleased with his qualifying performance when he ended up seventh. “I’m happy with my qualifying and the progress we made thanks to the team’s hard work and me coming to grips with the track really well,” he admitted.
The start of the feature race was nothing but disappointing for Vandoorne as he struggled to get away. “A not so good start, fourth and a race pace which wasn’t too bad, but not fantastic.” The GP2 championship leader was able to find himself back on the podium, after a quick pit stop from the experienced ART mechanics. “All in all, third allowed me to limit the damage.”
After impressing in qualifying, Matsushita was hoping to continue his tremendous run. A brilliant start meant that by the end of the first corner, he was in third position. Following a quick Safety Car due to an incident between Artem Markelov and Nathanaël Berthon, the ART driver was soon into second thanks to a clean move on Richie Stanaway before mechanical issues forced him to stop.
“In the first race, everything was going really well,” Matsushita said after the race. “My dreams were shattered and a mechanical gremlin killed both my races.”
After a disappointing first race, it didn’t get much better for Matsushita in the sprint race when he was fighting at the lower end of the pack and ended his weekend in nineteenth position.
Vandoorne failed to score in Sunday’s sprint race which meant for the first time in 2015 he walked away without any points. “The sprint race was really frustrating,” he admitted after the final race. “I couldn’t find a good rhythm and the performance was running away from the car so I was unable to fight.”