Sam Bird showed impressive skill and determination to clinch a hard-earned fourth place in Saturday’s GP2 Asia race in Bahrain.
Starting a lowly 13th on the grid after suffering from serious tyre degradation the previous day, the ART GP driver had to take evasive action off the start in order to avoid getting caught up in the lap one chaos. This briefly dropped him down to 17th. However, he then began to make his pace count and commenced his fight back by slipstreaming four cars in a single move by the end of the lap.
With the competitors now “settled” into position, Bird’s ensuing march up the order was the result of a series of individual battles, the highlights of which were his successive overtaking moves on Vietoris, Piscopo, Turvey and Zampieri to secure a very creditable finish at the foot of the podium.
“On Friday we didn’t get the balance of the car right so we really struggled for pace and absolutely destroyed our tyres”, said Bird. “But great credit to my engineer and the whole team. They gave me a very good car today and I knew that I if could stay out of the mid-pack trouble at the start, I had the ability and the package to work my way up the order over the course of the race.”
“Of course it’s nice to do well and score points in these races but for us it’s all about being prepared to compete at the front in the Main Series. From that point of view, we are very much using the Asia Series as a training ground, in terms of my understanding with my engineer, putting best sectors together in qualifying, maximising the tyres and perfecting the pit stops. It’s very useful for us to be able to experiment on a few things at this stage and the aspects that have not worked are just as valuable as those that have. I feel we’re making really good progress.”
The next round of the GP2 Asia Series will support Formula One’s opening race in Bahrain, on March 12th to 14th.