Tyre strategy key to GP2 in Barcelona as GP3 makes debut
|Cecotto won the GP2 feature race|
|Lynn won the GP3 feature race|
The GP2 drivers all used the hard tyre for their 26-lap sprint race on Sunday, which does not feature a compulsory pit stop. Nonetheless, using the tyres properly in challenging conditions due to overnight rain was important, with Carlin’s Felipe Nasr taking his first GP2 win from sixth on the grid. Key to his victory was getting in front on lap two, ensuring that he could conserve his tyres without getting drawn into on-track battles. Russian Time driver Mitch Evans, by contrast, charged up to sixth place from 14th on the grid but then tumbled down the order because of excessive degradation in the closing laps. Marussia Manor’s Dean Stoneman took an emotional GP3 sprint race victory on Sunday. The circuit was extremely slippery due to the overnight rain, with Stoneman even spinning on the warm-up lap. Despite this, the hard compound tyres were able to find grip in extremely marginal conditions. The previous day’s feature race winner, Alex Lynn, gambled on a switch to wet tyres during a safety car period – an indication of how difficult the conditions were – but this did not work out for him. Pirelli’s racing manager Mario Isola concluded: “Just like Bahrain, strategy proved to be vital to Cecotto’s GP2 victory on Saturday, after a very entertaining race. The drivers in GP2 have an even greater opportunity to benefit from strategy than they do in Formula One, so the latest rules should prepare them well for the top category. In GP3 we introduced some changes for this year, with slightly harder compounds and a larger front tyre. We consequently achieved our target of having a car balance that is biased towards oversteer, making it more challenging to drive.” This year’s GP2 season takes in 11 rounds and 22 races, while GP3 comprises nine rounds and 18 races. The next round of GP2 is in Monaco, while GP3 resumes in Austria.
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