Adrian Quaife-Hobbs left his home GP2 Series event at Silverstone this weekend encouraged by a pace that saw him equal the times of his rivals in both qualifying and the races. Although unable to repeat his fine podium form of Monaco, the 22 year-old salvaged two strong results, after tricky conditions at the Northamptonshire track cost him a possible top six grid slot.
In qualifying on Friday, the Tonbridge racer was comfortably in the top six on his first flying lap, but traffic and yellow flags on his second two laps, together with drizzle at the midway point, prevented him from capitalising on the MP Motorsport 600bhp, four-litre V8 Mecachrome Dallara’s speed, dropping him down the order.
In Saturday’s opening 29 lap race, Quaife-Hobbs made a good start gaining several places at the lights, but had to avoid a stalled car ahead which lost him momentum, and dropped him to last. Over the course of the opening laps, Quaife-Hobbs managed to claw back the gap to championship leader Stefano Coletti.
As the pit stop window opened, it become evident that radio communication with the team was not working, costing the BRDC Superstar two laps until he was called in for his compulsory tyre stop, via pit board. Although a minor technical issue, it nevertheless cost the reigning AutoGP World Series champion eight seconds, and with it a possible eighth place and the reverse grid pole for race two.
After his stop, Quaife-Hobbs was consistently lapping among the leaders, netting the third fastest race time, but was unable to make any headway into the final points finishing position.
Lining up tenth for Sunday’s second race a clutch problem suffered on the warm-up lap prevented Quaife-Hobbs from utilising the medium tyres to their advantage, when the lights went out. A sterling effort by the Briton however allowed him to enjoy several battles during the 19 laps, including a strong challenge on Coletti at the mid-way point, before finishing 11th.
“It’s a little disappointing not to get a better result at my home race, however we have to focus on the positives from the weekend, which is that we had great pace in both races and the qualifying session,” said Quaife-Hobbs.
“It’s just a shame we weren’t able to capitalise on that pace and get a good grid position for the opening race as I’m sure we could have converted that into a strong result if we’d started higher up the grid.
“But looking ahead to Germany, we need to keep the momentum going forwards, we’re able to match the pace of the leaders, so we need to ensure we get a better start position in race one to pull it all together.
“I’m looking forward to racing at the Nurburgring, I haven’t raced there for a while, so it will be good to get back to one of the most challenging tracks on the calendar and bring home some good results.”
Quaife-Hobbs returns to race action next weekend at the Nurburgring, Germany where he aims to keep the momentum going in his bid for his maiden GP2 victory.