Christian Vietoris admitted he was fortunate to finish first on his debut GP2 Asia race weekend at Yas Marina Circuit. The German won the second race of the GP2 Asia series yesterday after finishing ahead of Saturday's winner Davide Valsecchi, but the iSport Italian driver displayed far greater speed throughout the 22-lap race. Josef Kral of the Czech Republic finished third.
Valsecchi, who won the first of the weekend's two GP2 Asia races, found himself eighth on the grid for yesterday's contest. In GP2 the eight fastest drivers in race one line up in reverse order on the grid for the following day's event. Despite his starting position, the Italian drove a remarkable race to finish only 2.447secs behind his DAMS rival. Vietoris said he was happy to get off to a strong start, but conceded that Valsecchi would probably have finished first had he been able to escape the traffic he found himself embroiled in.
"The start was important," he said. "It was not perfect - I still have to work on it. We also have to work on our race pace. I didn't use the tyres very well. I think I need more experience in this car. I need to get used to how to use the tyres a little bit better, but in the end, it was a good weekend. "I kept control of the race. It was a bit lucky that Valsecchi was stuck in traffic as he was much faster than me, but that's part of racing."
Vietoris was taking part in only his second race in GP2 after joining from Formula Three where he drove for Mücke Motorsport. In Saturday's race, the German finished sixth, 15.46secs off the lead and more than five seconds behind fifth-placed Kral. "I am more confident," said Vietoris. "I'm quite happy with this result. [Saturday] was the first time I had a pit stop and the first time I have the clutch with the steering wheel. But now I'm looking forward to the next round. I think we can definitely go for the win in race one.
"We still have a lot of work to do, but DAMS is a very good team and I am sure that we can do great things together." Valsecchi displayed some superb driving in his iSport GP205 - the same car that Formula One's Timo Glock drove to the GP2 Series title in 2007. "The car was unbelievable," he said. "The driver's job is so much easier with that. If you are confident, and the car is brilliant, you can do just about anything. That's what happened today. It was perfect. iSport are a great team; sure they know how to make a great car, but also, they made me part of their family. That's special. And I had so much fun overtaking cars."
In all likelihood, had the race continued for one more lap, Valsecchi would have been celebrating his second victory in as many days. But the 22-year-old refused to discredit his opponent's performance. "You know, you don't think about 'what if there had been one more lap?' There was no more lap and Vietoris completely deserved his win. "He did a really good job and I am extremely satisfied with 19 points scored this weekend. It's fine that way."