GP2: Rounds 7/8 – Silverstone, Great Britain – 20/21 June

Feature race

Alberto Valerio took his first GP2 victory at Silverstone, as championship leader Romain Grosjean had a uncharacteristically poor day.

Grosjean had the best start and rocketed away, almost two seconds up by the end of a single lap, but then Valerio closed up and was clearly the faster of the two. Finally the pressure he was exerting bore fruit and he outfoxed Grosjean to slide through easily at Abbey to take a lead that he never lost.

Grosjean, meanwhile, continued to fall backwards as the race wore on, quickly ceding second to Lucas di Grassi and then acting as a mobile chicane for a long train of cars that wanted to get past. In the end, Grosjean finished 5th – not a bad result all things considered, and which will put him to 4th in the spring race reverse grid; if he and his team can get to the heart of today’s problems he should be able to put in a strong bid for the Sunday victory.

Di Grassi had to fight to hold onto the second spot. An impessive series of laps around the time of his mandatory pit stop saw Nico Hulkenberg take the second spot, but he started to struggle on the closing laps giving di Grassi the chance to close up and reclaim the runners-up spot. Hulkenberg held on to third place from Sergio Perez (Arden), who had taken advantage of an early stop to bring himself into contention from the back of the grid.

Grosjean’s Addax team mate Vitaly Petrov had an eventful first lap, getting pushed off the track into the first turn, then taking a second impact as he tried to return to the track that sent him skidding off on the grass. He eventually finished 15th. His lack of points means that Grosjean tops the championship points once again after losing the top spot to Petrov in Turkey.

Jerome D’Ambrosio bogged down on the starting grid causing all kinds of chaos as cars took evasive action at the green lights, but he eventually got underway and settled in at the back of the pack. Edoardo Mortara tripped over Kamui Kobayashi on the first lap, spinning them both out of the race.

Race result:

Pos  Driver               Team                Time
 1.  Alberto Valerio      Piquet              55m32.255s
 2.  Lucas di Grassi      Racing Engineering  +   1.238s
 3.  Nico Hulkenberg      ART                 +   5.289s
 4.  Sergio Perez         Arden               +   5.550s
 5.  Romain Grosjean      Addax               +  14.409s
 6.  Karun Chandhok       Ocean               +  16.392s
 7.  Pastor Maldonado     ART                 +  22.184s
 8.  Andreas Zuber        Fisichella          +  26.889s
 9.  Michael Herck        DPR                 +  36.321s
10.  Davide Valsecchi     Durango             +  39.715s
11.  Diego Nunes          iSport              +  40.509s
12.  Roldan Rodriguez     Piquet              +  41.479s
13.  Dani Clos            Racing Engineering  +  45.601s
14.  Luca Filippi         Super Nova          +  46.247s
15.  Vitaly Petrov        Addax               +  46.415s
16.  Davide Rigon         Trident             +  57.096s
17.  Giacomo Ricci        DPR                 +1m10.760s
18.  Nelson Panciatici    Durango             +1m16.251s
19.  Jerome D'Ambrosio    DAMS                +1m19.149s
20.  Luiz Razia           Fisichella          +    1 lap

Retirements:

     Javier Villa         Super Nova          30 laps
     Giedo van der Garde  iSport              29 laps
     Ricardo Teixeira     Trident             8 laps
     Alvaro Parente       Ocean               1 lap
     Kamui Kobayashi      DAMS                0 laps
     Edoardo Mortara      Arden               0 laps

Sprint race

Pastor Maldonado beat Andreas Zuber off the startline into the first turn at Copse, and controlled the race from there on, easily keeping the lead right to the chequered flag.

Championship leader Romain Grosjean had gone some way to curing his handling problems of the feature race, starting in and retaining fourth place for the whole race. Initially Maldonardo, Zuber and Karun Chandhok stretched out a long lead over Grosjean, but in the closing stages of the race it was Chandhok who started to struggle, falling back from the leaders and into Grosjean’s clutches.

Any chance Grosjean had of sneaking third place in the final laps was thwarted when a safety car came out: Dani Clos spun on oil laid down by Edoardo Mortara’s exploding engine and left his Racing Engineering stuck in an impossible position in the middle of the track leading into a chicane. Clos had already been in the wars, having a completely unnecessary collision with Luiz Razia that ended with Clos having to pit for a new rear left tyre after it contacted with Razia’s sidepod, putting the Fisichella car out of the race. Mortara, by contrast, had been having a very good morning until his engine blew, putting in an strong performance of overtaking in the midfield placings – including one memorable move that got him past Javier Villa and Davide Valsecchi in one go.

The race itself was uneventful after a stuttering start: the first start was waved off after Giacomo Ricci ground to a halt on the formation lap and Davide Valsecchi stalled on the grid; and at the next attempt to get away, Lucas di Grassi got bogged down and failed to get away, dropping to the back of the pack as the rest of the field took avoiding action. Di Grassi attempted to stage a comeback, setting early fastest laps, but then pushed too hard and spun off the track undoing all his good work. He finally finished 19th a lap down.

Diego Nunes only made it three corners into the race before he went off onto the grass, lost control, went across the track, back onto the grass, spun, almost came back into the path of oncoming traffic before finally rolling backwards and wrecking his rear wing assembly against the barrier.

It was also an poor outing for Luca Filippi, who was running well up the order until the last third of the race when the car lost power and handling and then he fell backwards through the running order to finally finish 16th.

Although the last two laps were held under the safety car, the officials injected a little flourish of late excitement by bringing the safety car in ahead of the final turn to give the cars one last drag race to the chequered flag. It didn’t affect the running order, however, and Maldonado was able to take the race win.

Race result:

1   Pastor Maldonado    ART Grand Prix      35'27.955s  
2   Andreas Zuber       FMS International   +   0.618s
3   Karun Chandhok      Ocean               +   3.417s
4   Romain Grosjean     Barwa Addax Team    +   3.447s
5   Nico Huelkenberg     ART Grand Prix      +   3.856s
6   Sergio Perez        Arden               +   3.936s
7   Alberto Valerio     Piquet GP           +   4.316s
8   Michael Herck       DPR                 +   4.524s
9   Roldan Rodriguez    Piquet GP           +   5.030s
10  Vitaly Petrov       Barwa Addax Team    +   5.463s
11  Alvaro Parente      Ocean               +   5.916s
12  J.D'Ambrosio        DAMS                +   6.553s
13  G.van der Garde     iSport              +   7.188s
14  Davide Valsecchi    Durango             +   8.339s
15  Javier Villa        Super Nova Racing   +  15.244s
16  Luca Filippi        Super Nova Racing   +  34.869s
17  Kamui Kobayashi     DAMS                +  36.225s
18  Ricardo Teixeira    Trident Racing      +  36.688s
19  Lucas Di Grassi     Racing Engineering  +    1 Lap
20  Davide Rigon        Trident Racing      +    1 Lap

Retirements:

    Edoardo Mortara     Arden International     19 laps Engine
    Daniel Clos         Racing Engineering      19 laps Spun off
    N.Panciatici        Durango                 17 laps Retirement
    Luiz Razia          Fisichella              11 laps Retirement
    Diego Nunes         iSport                   0 laps Retirement
    Giacomo Ricci       DPR                      0 laps Not started

Championship standings:

A mediocre weekend was enough to restore Romain Grosjean to a relatively comfortable 7pt lead in the GP2 championship after his team mate and chief rival Vitali Petrov failed to score in either race.

Drivers:

1   Romain Grosjean     40                                              
2   Vitaly Petrov       33                                              
3   Pastor Maldonado    26                                              
4   Nico Hulkenberg     26                                              
5   Lucas Di Grassi     24                                              
6   J.D'Ambrosio        18                                              
7   Alberto Valerio     16                                              
8   Andreas Zuber       14                                              
9   Luca Filippi        13                                              
10  Edoardo Mortara     10                                              
11  Karun Chandhok       9                                       
12  Javier Villa         7                                       
13  Davide Valsecchi     6                                       
14  Sergio Perez         6                                       
15  G.van der Garde      5                                       
16  Kamui Kobayashi      3  

Constructors:

1   Barwa Addax Team    73                                              
2   ART Grand Prix      52                                              
3   Racing Engineering  24                                              
4   DAMS                21                                              
5   Super Nova Racing   20                                              
6   Arden               16                                              
7   Piquet GP           16                                              
8   Fisichella          14                                              
9   Ocean                9                                       
10  Durango              6                                       
11  iSport               5                                       
12  Trident Racing       0                                       
13  DPR                  0  
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