Arden’s GP2 returned to the Banbury factory, just 17 miles from the home of British Motorsport pointless as the Arden duo failed to secure any points at the weekend.
Following Nabil’s best qualifying at the previous round in Spielberg, the team were hopeful for his first top ten qualifying finish, however a gearbox failure early in the Qualifying session on Friday afternoon left the Malaysian starting nineteenth for the Feature Race. Team-mate Jimmy was unable to fulfil the team’s hopes for an improved Qualifying time, setting his fastest time on his first set of soft (option) Pirellis, only good enough for a start in front of his team-mate in eighteenth.
Jimmy had a stellar start off the line spear-heading up to fourteenth, followed up by his team-mate on lap 3 who had seized his opportunities to pass Philo Armand (Trident) and Daniel De Jong (MP Motorsport) and Jimmy by lap 4. Jimmy came in for fresh slicks (Prime, Hard tyre) when the pit window opened on lap 6 whilst Nabil, on opposing strategy, stayed out on his primes until lap 18, when he started to struggle on the option tyre. Jimmy finished fifteenth whilst Nabil finished seventeenth.
Starting in their finishing positions from race one, the Arden duo had poor starts dropping back to twentieth and twenty-first on the opening lap. The recovery procedure was then in place to retrieve as many positions as possible in this Sprint race. Both drivers managed a pass on Sean Geleal (Pertamina Campos Racing) and Nabil another move on De Jong, to finish fifteenth and Jimmy finishing seventeenth.
Nabil: “I actually felt good going into Silverstone weekend but it was a very disappointing qualifying when my gearbox failed. In Race one I knew I was quicker than I was performing but I just couldn’t hold the car because of my physical limitation. The car for Race two was amazing. I also felt very happy with the setup which was constant throughout the 21laps. Overall it was quite a positive weekend and I can feel that the team is moving forward and feeling that the whole team is behind me to improve. I hope that Hungary will show this!”
Jimmy: “It was an OK race for us. I struggled a lot on the options initially; I really hit the cliff, which was more or less a first for me in GP2. It was a valuable experience and something I will learn from for the future. We were stronger on the prime tyres and while I obviously aim higher than 15th, I think we can still be reasonably happy with the race.
The second race was not fantastic. I had a lot of clutch slip at the start and dropped back a number of places, and then I tried to save my tyres, hoping for a strong finish. It worked to a small extent, but not like I was hoping. The tyres are difficult to master in GP2, but I've made some interesting findings here this weekend.
We still need to work on our qualifying performance. If we can only get ourselves four or five places further up the grid on Saturday, that can turn things around rapidly and change the shape of our weekend with the reverse-grid sprint race and all. Hopefully we will be able to improve on that one-lap pace in Budapest – at least that’s the very clear target.”