2016 Monaco GP2 Preview
This weekend sees the return of the GP2 Series for the second round of 11 in 2016 at the Circuit de Monaco. This is the only time this season that the series goes to a track without the GP3 Series following it.
Ahead of the third and fourth races of the season, Prema Racing’s Pierre Gasly tops the championship into what is a home race for him, like other French drivers, such as championship rival Norman Nato and Rapax’s Arthur Pic.
Two of the types of tires the cars will use are the yellow-walled soft and red-walled supersoft compounds. This is the first time the supersofts will be used in 2016, after the hard and soft tires were used in the first round. They will also have use of the one Drag Reduction System (DRS) zone down the start-finish straight.
In Monaco they have to use different qualifying groups, A and B, which will both spend 16 minutes out on track vying for lap time, which will hopefully ease any possible blocking problems. The practice session and qualifying will take place on Thursday, with the feature race on Friday and the sprint race Saturday, a slightly different arrangement to most weekends.
The opening race in Spain, although quiet in some periods, once again showed how competitive this series is. Following two races, we had five different podium sitters – Norman Nato, Nicholas Latifi, Pierre Gasly, Alex Lynn and Jordan King. It would not be surprising to be into double figures in the next round or two.
Gasly, Lynn and King were involved in Formula One testing for Toro Rosso, Williams and Manor after the last GP2 races. Gasly finished seventh in the first day of the test with Lynn in ninth. King was tenth in the second day of testing.
Sergio Canamasas had a fantastic fifth-place finish in his debut for Carlin. He was one of four drivers on the current grid to claim a podium last year, with a third-place in the feature. Canamasas and Raffaele Marciello, who claimed second in the 2015 sprint race, and also claimed a fifth-place finish in Spain’s sprint race, could put on quite the show as they battle for a return to the podium.
A competitive battle looks to be emerging in the Teams’ Championship, with DAMS and Racing Engineering tied with 43 points in the top two positions. Both teams will again be aiming to finish in the top three of the standings.
Reigning champions ART Grand Prix will look to bounce back after gaining one point from the first two races. The team is currently in eighth place in the Teams’ Championship. Sergey Sirotkin has experience of Monaco’s podium after finishing third last year, and should be up front like he was before his spin in the feature race in Spain. Indeed, this race was the first race that he scored points in in 2015, and this could well be the case again this year.
Campos Racing is another team that had a hard time in Spain, just one place behind ART in the championship after a competitive 2015. Mitch Evans has had three podium finishes at the track in 2013 and 2014, but it could take something special to get into such a position again after finishing outside the points in Barcelona.
Who knows what will happen when they try to navigate one of the most difficult aspects of both races: the run from the start into the first corner at Sainte Devote. With no room for mistakes, it will take a superb amount of skill, or luck, to avoid any dramatic incidents as 22 cars try and make the corner in a matter of seconds.
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