Bruno Senna endured a frustrating day at the Sepang Circuit in Malaysia today when he retired from the GP2 Asia Series main race, round five of the championship. His focus will now turn to tomorrow's sprint race, where he will try to finish in a points-scoring position to aid his championship bid in the ten round series.
Bruno hit the tricky Malaysian circuit for the first time in Friday morning's free practice session. It was Bruno's first visit to Sepang and the first time that the GP2 Asia Series ran on the same weekend as a Formula One race – the series supported the Malaysian GP. Bruno completed 13 laps of testing in the thirty minute session, recording a fastest lap of 1:46.777, just over half a second off the pace of session leader Romain Grosjean. In Friday afternoon's qualifying, Bruno continued his strong GP2 Asia form, setting the fourth fastest lap with a time of 1:45.094 to put him on the second row of the grid in fourth position for Saturday's main race.
Starting from fourth for the 34-lap race, Bruno was immediately at an advantage when his team-mate and second-placed starter Karun Chandhock began the race from the pitlane, putting Bruno up to third. After pole-sitter Romain Grosjean stalled on the start, Bruno powered down the inside, passing Adrian Valles and taking the lead before the first corner. However, later on in the lap, the 24-year-old was the first driver to hit the wet track and he locked up, losing positions and falling to ninth.
The race was red flagged on lap two after several accidents and treacherous wet conditions, and was restarted half an hour later, with Bruno beginning from ninth, his placing at the time of the red flag. Unfortunately, on the restart, due to the car heating up while sitting on the grid, Bruno stalled and had to be pushed into the pitlane to be restarted. When he got going, he showed real pace and was pushing very hard. On lap five, Bruno hit a bump in the braking area for turn one, spinning off track into the gravel trap where the car became beached, putting an early end to the Brazilian's race. It was a frustrating end as Bruno was lapping over a second quicker than the rest of the field, albeit three quarters of a lap behind.
Bruno Senna: "It's just a really frustrating day after qualifying well and being in the lead on the first lap. After the race was restarted I could never have caught the front runners as I was already about three quarters of a lap behind as I had to be pushed into the pitlane to be restarted. So all I could do was push to the maximum and we were showing fantastic pace but I just hit the bump into turn one and couldn't do anything to get out of the gravel. All I can do now is look to tomorrow and try to get into the points."