"The start was pretty good," was a major understatement from the British rookie. "But we had some mechanical issues with the cars because my right hand corners I am terrible and when I'm left I'm fine. It felt like my front left wing was in the air. I could not accelerate.
"It was disappointing to drop back, but I put up a fight with Esteban to see if I had one chance," he said. "But I realised that my pace was slow so I let Valsecchi past because there is no point racing a really slow car."
It hadn't just been race winner Valsecchi who had benefited from looking after his tyres early on in order to make a surge forward in the latter stages of the race. His DAMS team mate Felipe Nasr's starting grid stall had caused that initial repeat formation lap, and by the middle of the race he had still been labouring in the midfield around 15th place. But in the final half dozen laps it was as if someone had strapped a jet pack with afterburners onto the back of Nasr's car, and when the final classifications showed that he'd made it up to sixth place there were an awful lot of people up and down pit lane doing comedy double-takes and rubbing their eyes in disbelief.
Stephane Richelmi failed to complete a lap in the race, after being caught up in an untidy clattering of midfield cars at the first corner. Brendon Hartley's front wing was also damaged in the incident, and after it started to break up on lap 2 the late-notice Ocean Racing Technology stand-in driver also decided to call it a day and headed for the pits. Other retirements included Nathanael Berthon, while Stefano Coletti tumbled two laps off the lead with a rear left wheel problem. Johnny Cecotto Jr. also finished off the lead lap, after being hit early on by a drive-thru penalty for a jump start.
Full race results
for Sunday's Bahrain sprint race are available.