The opening round of the 2015 GP2 season which took place at Sakhir didn’t fail to deliver in terms of action and drama: if poleman Stoffel Vandoorne triumphed in the Feature Race, it wasn’t without panache. The Belgian ace reclaimed the lead from Alexander Rossi in the final stages and then kept Rio Haryanto at bay until the chequered flag. The Indonesian driver won the sprint race the following day ahead of Vandoorne and Nathanaël Berthon. It was a day of firsts: first GP2 victory for Haryanto and first GP2 podium for Lazarus, thanks to the Frenchman. At the end of the race weekend, Vandoorne topped the drivers’ standings ahead of Haryanto and Rossi.
The Circuit de Catalunya hosts the second round of the season this weekend with the paddock returning to Europe and to a track well-known by the teams and the drivers. It is an extremely demanding track for the tyres because of the long high-speed corners that put plenty of energy through the compound, and the high degree of asphalt roughness. The left side of the car is particularly stressed, with the front-left tyre doing the most work.
Turn three is a crucial corner, putting the largest amount of energy through the tyres. Other factors to bear in mind when calculating set-up in Barcelona include the rippled asphalt and frequently changing wind direction. Pirelli have selected Hard and Soft compounds.
Warm Up // Alex Lynn – DAMS
“I have always loved this track. It’s got a great flow and it always lends itself to a nicely balanced car. A lot of it is high speed and if the car has a good down-force you’re usually fast.
“I always find the last sector to be really important because it’s really slow speed and you need to have the tyres still alive for it on a qualifying lap. It’s so tight and twisty, especially in a GP2 car with big power, you need to have the traction in the last chicane and the corner before that. It’s where I think you find a big laptime gain. You can be a little bit off in the first two sectors, but then if you can put a massive last sector, you can make a big time gap to everybody.
“Regarding the tyre degradation, it will be high but not as aggressive and extreme as in Bahrain. It’s still high though. It will be a big factor and tyre management will be key as always. I’m really hoping for a good result there. It will be another interesting race like we saw in Bahrain.”
23 Number of laps led by Stoffel Vandoorne in Round 1.
10 Number of points between Vandoorne and Rio Haryanto in the drivers’ standings.
12 Number of points scored in Round 1 by rookies Jordan King and Robert Visoiu.
14 Number of cars who qualified within the same second in Round 1.
Hilmer Motorsport are back on the grid with Nick Yelloly and Johnny Cecotto at the wheel.
Yelloly becomes the tenth rookie of the season.
Sergio Canamasas will lose three grid places on Saturday following a penalty picked up at Sakhir during the Sprint Race.
Raffaele Marciello will take part in Formula One FP1 on Friday with Sauber before GP2 Series’ Free Practice.
Arden International has the most wins at Circuit de Catalunya since 2005 (4)
Arden International has the most Podium finishes at Circuit de Catalunya since 2005 (8).
Fun with figures
Number of GP2 races completed by Haryanto on winning day 70
Number of laps raced in Round 1 by Gasly, Pic, Nato and Sorensen 27 out of 55
Number of kilometres led by Vandoorne in Round 1 124.476