SILVERSTONE, United Kingdom — It was a mixed weekend for Nevada City native Alexander Rossi, racing in round five of the GP2 Championship at Silverstone.
Rossi fought through the grid to gain a total of 20 places throughout the race weekend. Despite understeer issues with the car that troubled Rossi’s performance, he proved his talent by gaining an average of 10 places per race.
“Overall it has been a very up and down weekend in Silverstone,” Rossi said. “While there is still some work to do on the car, with understeer causing a few issues over the course of the weekend, I felt in strong form and was pleased with the level of overtaking I did throughout both races.”
On Saturday, Race 1 started well following a difficult qualifying session in the wet weather, where progress was hampered by the lack of dry running. A steady race and a solid strategy saw Rossi finish in 10th place, only to be handed a 10-place grid penalty for the following sprint race, after an incident on track while battling for the final scoring position.
“During Race 1, my initial launch off the line was great; however, with two stalled cars in front of me, I had to back off to avoid hitting them, which cost me places,” Rossi said. “Within the first few laps, I managed to pass two more cars, and we took the decision to pit early on lap six, allowing us to leapfrog additional cars to take the battle to the rest of the grid.
“The post-race grid penalty of places was difficult, but we’re never one to turn down a challenge. Knowing how much I gained in Race 1 meant that I went into the sprint race with a clear plan of attack.”
Despite the disadvantage of starting Race 2 in 20th, Rossi made a phenomenal start to gain 10 places during the opening lap. Throughout the sprint race, Rossi continued to progress with a car that was much more comfortable beneath him and finished just outside the points, ending the short race in ninth.
“After gaining 10 places off the line and in the opening lap, despite having to avoid again a stalled car, it just makes me wonder what I could have done if we’d started 10th without the penalty,” Rossi said. “We finished just outside of the points, frustrating, but considering where we started, I’m satisfied with my race.
“The car was much better for the second race. I feel we have made a good step forward Saturday night with some big changes. I’m hoping these changes will carry over for us at Nurburgring next weekend. I like this circuit, having previous success there.”