Tough weekend for Nevada City’s Alexander Rossi and Racing Engineering in Hungary
Alexander Rossi left the sixth round of competition in the 2015 GP2 Series third in the driver rankings, after a very difficult weekend at the Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary.
“It was a very frustrating weekend,” Rossi said. “We simply couldn’t find any balance in the car that worked on the prime or option tires. We did not have pace to fight for the front, but we managed some great battles, however this only increased the tire degradation because we had to defend positions, and in the end really hurt our results.”
For practice, Rossi was one of the first out of pit lane and with the knowledge that overtaking is particularly difficult at the Hungaroring circuit, the emphasis was placed on a good set up for qualifying and race grid position. The Nevada City native immediately set a lap of 1:30.986 to sit in fourth before improving his time to a 1:29.971. As the session continued, he was unable to improve his time, ending practice in 11th place.
The 30-minute qualifying session took place in almost identical conditions to those in practice and the American went fastest on his first flying lap with a time of 1:29.497, setting the pace for the rest of the field. He then improved to 1:29.023 on his fifth lap and later was able to reduce his lap time to 1:28.807, He had to settle for 11th position.
In the 37-lap Feature race, Rossi made a clean start and was soon up to 10th and chasing down Haryanto and his teammate Jordan King. On lap seven, he pitted for his mandatory stop, and resumed in 21st place and by lap 12 was up to 14th, as the other cars took their mandatory stops.
As the remaining cars took their pit stops, Rossi moved up to fourth position, but with 10 laps remaining he was struggling with heavy tire wear.
On lap 31, he dropped to fifth and by lap 33 he finished in a frustrating 12th place.
In Sunday’s 28-lap sprint race, Rossi had a good start, avoiding a stalled car in front of him. He was up to 10th for a short period, however, as found throughout the weekend, he was not comfortable with the car balance.
Unable to keep pace with the top eight cars, Rossi held his own with the middle pack until lap 19 when he dropped to 13th. Rossi dropped to 14th and on lap 20 pitted for another set of tires, resuming the race in 23rd position and taking the checkered flag in 19th.
The GP2 teams will now take a summer break before returning to racing at Spa in Belgium in one month’s time.
“We’ve been on excellent form before this weekend, so we’ll have to take as much as possible from Hungary and come back stronger in Spa,” Rossi said. “It’s one of my favorite circuits, having won there in the past. So we’ll have no excuses for not being at the sharp end of the grid where this team belongs.”
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