Edoardo Mortara has admitted that he will be happy to leave the Sepang circuit far behind after what he described as one of his worst weekends as a racing driver.
The Italian failed to finish the first of two GP2 Asia Series races supporting the F1 Malaysian Grand Prix, and only managed a disappointing 17th in a rain-soaked sequel as he attempted to fight his way back up the order.
A driveshaft issue was diagnosed on his Arden International car between races, having limited Mortara to just 100 metres of the feature event, but the series rookie then had to contend with an enormous rainstorm ahead of Sunday's sprint, which led to the race being delayed for an hour before eventually being allowed to get underway with the track still awash. Starting under the safety car, Mortara lined up in 24th position, but fought his way through to finish an arduous morning's work in a brake-afflicted 17th place.
"The fact I made it to the end of the race is really the only positive that I can take from what has been a really disappointing weekend," the Italian sighed, "Today, I was hoping for some rain, and it came, but it was impossible to get anything from it. I was struggling with my brakes and found it very difficult to stop my car going straight on in almost every corner.
"When it started to dry out a little bit, I started to push more and I was becoming more competitive but, by then, it was too late. It was my first wet race in GP2, but I have come into this championship from a series where I won some wet races. I'm usually competitive in rainy conditions but, today, it was really strange."
Mortara will have one more chance to shine on the GP2 Asia stage before being launched into the category's summer series, and is happy to be returning to Bahrain, where he made his GP2 debut, even if he admits that there is a lot to do to regain his competitiveness.
"Moving on to Bahrain, we have to work a lot - it should be good for us, but you never know," he conceded, "The other teams have improved a lot and we have to see if we can match that. I'm not saying anything now though because, at the start of this weekend, I said I was hoping for some good results but it's ended up being one of the worst weekends I can remember in my career."
Engineer Campbell Hobson attempted to offer some reassurance to his charge ahead of the finale on a circuit where Mortara took a podium two rounds ago.
"It was Edo's first wet race in GP2, and the conditions were really difficult," he pointed out, "He had a bit of a problem with the brakes, but we'll wait and see exactly what that was when the car comes back to us. He said he might have had contact with someone in the rain, and that could have affected things.
"But, for sure, by the end of the race, his sector times seemed good and he was matching a lot of guys out there, but we were just a bit slow at the start and we'll have to see why. But it's more experience in these conditions which will help him in the main series. Bringing the car home is definitely a good result - there were a lot of guys out there who didn't manage that, so overall a good learning experience.
"However, we need to be back up at the front in Bahrain, as we were last time with him. He qualified fourth so we hope to be back up there and I can't see any reason why we can't be."