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Preview: second race weekend in Bahrain for GP2

The F1 teams may have flown out of Bahrain, but the GP2 field is still in residence - and about to stage its second consecutive weekend of racing in Sakhir.
While F1 is taking a bit of a break, the GP2 teams will be back in action this weekend and holding the second consecutive round of races at the Bahrain International Circuit at Sakhir.

The chief differences for the GP2 teams this time around are that they'll be operating from the main pit lane complex now that the F1 teams no longer need them; and that the schedule no longer needs to fit around the Grand Prix practice and qualifying track activity.

This week's GP2 practice and qualifying still take place on Friday, but are being condensed into the morning (at 7.55am and 9.25am BST) so that the feature race can be brought forward and run on Friday afternoon (1.55pm BST). The sprint race then follows on Saturday at 11.55am BST, allowing the teams to take their leave on Sunday.

The big challenge for the GP2 teams other than DAMS is to see whether they can do anything about the irresistible form of championship leader Davide valsecchi, who dominated last weekend's event. After dominating practice and qualifying, we romped home to a feature win and then followed it up with a hard-fought victory from an eighth place start in the sprint place.

"It's the best weekend of my career!" said a jubilant Valsecchi, looking back. "A big thanks to the whole team who gave me a fantastically well-prepared car for practice and the races with an impeccable pit stop.

"I fought hard to achieve this," he added. "With the DAMS team I can fight with the best and we're going to make sure this continues."

"A double during the same weekend is very rare in GP2 and everybody, engineers, drivers and mechanics, did a great job," said DAMS CEO Jean-Paul Driot. "Bravo to Davide - and also to Felipe who made an exceptional comeback on Sunday. However, it's only the start of the championship and we're fighting top-class rivals. We're staying fully concentrated on the coming races."

Valsecchi's double top means that he surged ahead of Arden's Luiz Razia in the championship, and the Brazilian is determined to fight back this weekend.

"Clearly we still have some work to do to narrow the gap to DAMS," he said. "The tyres are incredibly sensitive and tiny set-up alterations can make a difference of a few seconds over a race distance." He called last week's races "another encouraging weekend" and added: "It was a good result, but a difficult race."

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Luiz Razia (BRA, Arden International) in Bahrain. [World Copyright: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service.]
Dani Clos (ESP, Barwa Addax Team) in Bahrain. [World Copyright: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service.]
Brendon Hartley (NZL, Ocean Racing Technology) in Bahrain. [World Copyright: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service.]
Johnny Cecotto (VEN, Barwa Addax Team) in Bahrain. [World Copyright: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service.]
Racing Engineering mechanics push Nathanael Berthon (FRA, Racing Engineering) car back into the garage. [World Copyright: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service.]
Charles Leclerc - PREMA Racing
Charles Leclerc, Prema Racing, F2, Formula 2, Bahrain
Charles Leclerc - PREMA Racing
Charles Leclerc - PREMA Racing
Artem Markelov, F2, Bahrain
Artem Markelov
Norman Nato, Bahrain F2 2017, Formula 2
Charles Leclerc, Prema Racing, Formula 2, 2017
Gustav Malja - Racing Engineering [credit: GP2 Series]
Pierre Gasly - PREMA Racing
Alex Lynn - DAMS
Pierre Gasly - PREMA Racing
Pierre Gasly - PREMA Racing

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