Senna salvages fifth…

but simple statistics mask the full story

Brazilian’s bold tyre strategy pays off, but technical woes intervene again

On the surface, fifth place from 23rd on the grid looks like a positive result for Bruno Senna in Sunday morning’s GP2 Series sprint at Magny-Cours. Indeed it was – but simple statistics do not tell the full story.

Although morning showers had abated by the time the race began, the circuit was still damp. Even so, conditions were improving and Senna opted to start on Bridgestone slicks. After a few cautious laps, the Brazilian’s decision proved to be astute and he swept up the order as rivals began to pit to swap from wet tyres to dries. He was fourth by lap nine, despite a quick spin, and then moved up to third when Alvaro Parente (Super Nova) spun off just ahead of him. By then, though, Senna – who lost a potential victory when his clutch failed yesterday – was suffering myriad problems. His gear selector was malfunctioning and he had additionally lost the ability to obtain full throttle. That made him easy prey for some of the following cars, but he was still able to finish fifth to reduce the points deficit to series leader Giorgio Pantano (Racing Engineering).

Bruno Senna

“I was slightly concerned when I first opted to start on slicks, because it didn’t feel as though there was much grip. Things improved on my third reconnaissance lap, however, so I thought, ‘We might be all right here’. I took things very gently at first and gained a few places as others made mistakes. It didn’t take too long before dry tyres came into their own and after that I made rapid progress. It was difficult, but I’m usually very quick in tricky conditions and once the race settled down I was fairly confident that a podium finish was achievable.

“Unfortunately, the gear selector then began to play up and I also lost full throttle. Fifth is obviously a good result, because I started a long way back and overtaking is supposed to be impossible at Magny-Cours, but it is also frustrating because a podium result was within my grasp and it was taken away for reasons beyond my control.”