GP2 qualifying: A tough blow

DAMS took part in free practice and qualifying for the 6th round of the 2008 GP2 Series Championship on the Hockenheim circuit in Germany. Kamui Kobayashi and Jérôme d’Ambrosio were racing on the German track for the first time in the new GP2 car, and finished free practice in 2nd and 6th places, which augured well for qualifying.

Unfortunately, a few hours later the set-up of the 2 cars did not seem so well adapted to the layout. By the time this was corrected, track conditions had changed and the cooler temperatures penalised performance. Although Kamui and Jérôme improved on their previous times they did not move any higher up the grid finishing in 8th and 14th places respectively.

But there was still more bad news to come for the team. Kamui received a 5-place penalty from the Stewards for having baulked another driver in qualifying. He will start from 13th spot on the grid alongside Jérôme on the 7th row.

Eric Boullier, team manager: “It’s been a disappointing day. Both our drivers were at the front this morning and then we missed out on a good qualifying opportunity. We decided to send our cars out a bit later in the session so as not to be penalised by traffic, and our grid positions do not reflect our true level of performance. We’ll have to use race incidents and the weather to make the best of the situation tomorrow with an aggressive and well-adapted strategy.”

Jérôme d’Ambrosio6th in free practice, 14th in qualifying, 14th on the grid

“We didn’t manage to get to grips with the changing conditions in qualifying and the result is that we’re badly placed on the grid. It’s a real shame as we were very quick in the morning session. If we can repeat that level of performance tomorrow, we can score some points.”

Kamui Kobayashi2nd in free practice, 8th in qualifying, 13th on the grid

“It’s disappointing. Things went off well this morning and we were feeling confident about the rest of the day, but it didn’t work out as we’d expected. Now, we have to concentrate on the race and try and make the most of the slightest opportunity.”