Alexander Rossi made an impressive start to his GP2 campaign with Caterham Racing, finishing the Bahrain GP2 feature race in third position, scoring 15 points and taking seventh in the Drivers’ Championship.
Caterham Racing Team Manager Phill Spencer: “I am absolutely delighted with today’s result. These are the first points for the team this season and we are very pleased to have Alexander back in the car. Third place in his first race is a great boost for everyone in the team.
“With Alexander starting 6th and Sergio 20th for Sunday’s sprint race there is no reason why we should not score more points.”
Caterham Racing Chief Engineer Humphrey Corbett: “I am chuffed for Alexander and all of the team, especially James who engineers his car and who did a great job today with a driver who clearly has great promise. All in all this has been the best day for Caterham Racing by a long way this season and we are just so pleased for Alexander – the comeback kid!
Alexander Rossi: “Today was a great result for my GP2 series debut and Caterham Racing. I could not have asked for more than a podium and now we can build on that for tomorrow’s race and the remainder of the season.
“I grabbed two places on the first lap, running fifth up to the pit stop. The guys did a great job and I rejoined the track third on the road, balancing not to push too hard while looking after the tyres to the end of the race. Nasr was closing fast behind me at the end, but I had enough to hold him off and keep him behind me.
“It was obviously not ideal to miss winter testing and the first round of the Championship, however I’ve made very few changes to the car all weekend. James my engineer gave me a great baseline and racecar, which I capitalised on today. It’s important for me to build on this and I want to thank Tony Fernandes, Cyril Abiteboul and Caterham Racing Team Principal Mia Sharizman for having faith in me and giving me the chance to show what I can do.”
“Caterham Racing is a great team and I feel very comfortable with all the guys. Tomorrow will be calmer for me and starting fifth on the grid I can go out, enjoy the race and hopefully get on the podium again.”
The GP2 sprint race in Bahrain started at 1050 local time and did not disappoint, providing a constant stream of overtaking and wheel to wheel racing for the crowd.
Alexander made a good start from the third row of the grid following his podium in the Saturday feature race but it was three abreast into the first corner and a tap to the rear turned him around forcing oncoming traffic to make contact with his front wing. He made it back to the pits where a new nose was fitted and the suspension was checked. Rejoining the race in last place he put in some stunning lap times, catching and overtaking two cars at the back of the pack and finishing 20th..
Team Principal Mia Sharizman “Overall I am happy with the race weekend here in Bahrain and we have made many improvements and gains since the first race in Malaysia. It looks like we have turned a corner and all credit to the boys for their great work this weekend. It is never easy for the engineers or mechanics to have a new driver stepping into the car just a few days before a race weekend but Alexander and James have worked very well together.
“We now move on from Bahrain in the knowledge that we have a good baseline for the car and we hope to repeat our good form in Barcelona. There is a long season ahead and now we have moved up in the Championship standings we look onwards and upwards.”
Team Manager Phill Spencer: “I am disappointed for Alexander today but the team did a great job to get him back out on track after checking the car and changing the nose. After his stop he was consistently one of the fastest cars on track and I feel confident that with better fortune we could have won the race.
Caterham Racing Chief Engineer Humphrey Corbett: “We have mixed emotions following today’s race and we find ourselves thinking what could have been. Both drivers made very good starts but when Alex got tagged at the first corner and had to change his nose it was race over. After the pit stop he pushed hard and was flying, lapping quicker than the leaders and if it were not for the incident he looked good for another podium.
Alexander Rossi “My start was very good, I managed to overtake the row in front of me. Into turn one I went to the outside to brake on the racing line and was hit from behind. This put me sideways and another car drove over my front wing. I had to pit for a nose change, which pretty much put an end to my race.
“I made the decision to treat the remainder of the race as a test with the main aim to understand how the tyres work in these conditions, which turned out to be very positive. My tyre degradation was low and I was able to maintain a quick pace throughout the 25 laps.
“Going to Barcelona I think we have a very good race car. We’ll make small improvements to our qualifying car and after this weekend I have a better understanding of the tyres. There is no reason why we can’t go for a win in Barcelona.
“My GP2 Championship debut has been very positive, the team have done a fantastic job throughout and I would like to thank all of the guys for their hard work.”