Arthur Pic maintained his strong start to this season’s GP2 Series by scoring points in both races held at Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona last weekend (May 9-11). Indeed, sixth and fourth place finishes have helped propel the Frenchman up to fifth in the standings and make him the highest placed rookie.
Pic also came within a whisker of securing his maiden GP2 podium during Sunday’s sprint race. Having dropped a place at the start after lining up third, he would spend most of the 26-lap contest shadowing championship returnee Tom Dillmann. Track temperatures were also cooler than Saturday’s, but Pic once again demonstrated great skill in managing his hard compound tyres and eventually came home just 0.3sec shy of the rostrum after reeling in his countryman over the closing stages.
Fourth place nevertheless brought with it yet more valuable points after staging a fantastic recovery drive to sixth during Saturday’s feature race.
Pic and his Campos Racing team had endured a frustrating time on Friday attempting to find a set-up that would unlock the one-lap pace required for qualifying. It resulted in him lining up only 13th, although he was able to avoid the dramas that befell others at the aborted start before beginning to move through the field.
But with his soft compound rubber suffering from early degradation, Pic elected to pit for a set of the hards. Quick work from the Campos Racing mechanics helped him shoot up to sixth by the time the entire field had made their mandatory stops, a position he would maintain to the flag thanks to a combination of controlled pace and tyre management.
“It’s great to have secured a double points finish in Barcelona this weekend,” said Pic. “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.
“In race one, I initially suffered from too much wheelspin at the restart. 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.
“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.
“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.”
Pic will look to carry his momentum into the next GP2 Series round, which takes place around the iconic streets of Monte Carlo on May 22-24.
For more information on Arthur Pic please visit www.arthurpic.com