GP2: Rounds 9/10 – Nurburgring, Germany – July 11/12

Feature race

Nico Hulkenberg got off pole position in the feature race this afternoon, swept into the lead and controlled the race from there until the finish without any dramas or problems. He eventually crossed the line 13.9s clear of Piquet GP’s Roldan Rodriguez who got delayed by getting jumped by Lucas di Grassi (Racing Engineering) at the start and stuck behind him for the first part of the race until overtaking him at the pit stops. Rodriguez in turn finished well clear from Andreas Zuber in 3rd.

Series leader Romain Grosjean (Addax) was battling to climb from 14th on the grid and did impressively well, up to 6th place by the closing laps . But he was bottling up faster cars and coming under sustained pressure from Alvaro Parente (Ocean) when he abruptly slowed off the final corner with two laps to go, the victim of a hydraulics problem that dumped him out of the race. As a result, Hulkenberg closes to just one point off Grosjean in the series standings, and with Grosjean also starting the sprint race from well down the field there’s a strong chance Hulkenberg will exit his home event with the series lead.

In other events, Luca Filippi (Super Nova) spun after being hit by Grosjean in turn 4 and managed to clip the front right suspension of innocent bystander Luiz Razia (Fisichella) who had been working his way up impressively from last place to 19th by the time of the clash. Ten laps later, an ill-advised lunge by Pastor Maldonardo put Diego Nunes out of the race, and a few corners later Maldonado’s steering also gave up and sent his ART into the gravel and into a barrier.

Alberto Valerio (Piquet) was battling with Lucas di Grassi in the second half of the race after di Grassi opted to change all four tyres at the mandatory round of stops, but the threat from Valerio ended on lap 25 when the Silverstone winner parked with a suspected electrical problem.

Grosjean’s late retirement bumped Sergio Perez up to eighth, giving the Arden rookie the final point and pole for tomorrow’s sprint race.

After the race, Grosjean and Maldonardo were handed five place grid penalties for the sprint race for the accidents they caused, while Valerio was also penalised for an unsafe exits from the pits.

Pos  Driver               Team                    Time/Gap
 1.  Nico Hulkenberg      ART                 1h00m10.875s
 2.  Roldan Rodriguez     Piquet               +   13.931s
 3.  Andreas Zuber        Fisichella           +   21.765s
 4.  Vitaly Petrov        Addax                +   29.116s
 5.  Javier Villa         Super Nova           +   31.534s
 6.  Alvaro Parente       Ocean                +   48.000s
 7.  Lucas di Grassi      Racing Engineering   +   50.366s
 8.  Sergio Perez         Arden                +   51.117s
 9.  Kamui Kobayashi      DAMS                 + 1m04.414s
10.  Jerome D'Ambrosio    DAMS                 + 1m05.226s
11.  Karun Chandhok       Ocean                + 1m09.066s
12.  Giedo van der Garde  iSport               + 1m09.909s
13.  Davide Valsecchi     Durango              + 1m15.106s
14.  Michael Herck        DPR                  + 1m15.721s
15.  Rodolfo Gonzalez     Trident              + 1m22.721s
16.  Daniel Clos          Racing Engineering   +     1 lap
17.  Edoardo Mortara      Arden                +     1 lap
18.  Romain Grosjean      Addax                +    2 laps
19.  Nelson Panciatici    Durango              +    2 laps

Retirements:

     Alberto Valerio      Piquet               24 laps
     Franck Perera        DPR                  21 laps
     Diego Nunes          iSport               10 laps
     Pastor Maldonado     ART                  10 laps
     Ricardo Teixeira     Trident              6 laps
     Luca Filippi         Super Nova           0 laps
     Luiz Razia           Fisichella           0 laps

Sprint race

Nico Hulkenberg made it a one-two after showing that he can undertake with style, and can manage the dark, damp, greasy conditions of the early morning Nurburgring with ease.

The race was run on intermediates as the moisture hung heavy in the cold air, and the drivers struggled in the early laps with spray sent up into the air by the cars in front. But the track dried as the race progressed, although not quite to the extent to require a flurry of late pit stops to take on slick tyres, and the race just managed to finish all its scheduled laps before hitting the time limit for the GP2 sprint event.

Hulkenberg started from 8th on the grid but made solid, steady and irresistible progress up the field until he was running in second place. Vitaly Petrov had claimed the lead at the green flag and looked set to stroll off into the distance, but Hulkenberg had cut the gap back to 0.6s when news came that Petrov was to be given a drive-thru penalty for colliding with Lucas di Grassi’s Racing Engineering car at the start. Such was the lead they had built up before the very late announcement of the penalty, Petrov was able to carry out the drive-thru and still finish in 4th despite a late spin on track after catching his front left wheel on a kerb

Romain Grosjean was on a serious damage limitation mission after a grid penalty saw him starting from 22nd, and he impressed many by making it up to 5th place immediately behind his team mate by the end, although this still means he’s lost the GP2 series lead to Hulkenberg by 4pts.

Piquet duo Alberto Valerio and Roldan Rodriguez were the only drivers to risk a late change to slicks, but their performance – finishing a lap down – dissuaded anyone else from trying it even as a dry line appeared for the final laps and the duo started to record laps five seconds quicker than the rest of the field.

Pos  Driver               Team                  Time/Gap
 1.  Nico Hulkenberg      ART                 46m49.622s
 2.  Alvaro Parente       Ocean               +  26.454s
 3.  Kamui Kobayashi      DAMS                +  33.501s
 4.  Vitaly Petrov        Addax               +  33.688s
 5.  Romain Grosjean      Addax               +  44.754s
 6.  Javier Villa         Super Nova          +  50.075s
 7.  Jerome D'Ambrosio    DAMS                +  52.520s
 8.  Daniel Clos          Racing Engineering  +  53.961s
 9.  Pastor Maldonado     ART                 +  56.954s
10.  Davide Valsecchi     Durango             +1m14.361s
11.  Diego Nunes          iSport              +1m29.582s
12.  Michael Herck        DPR                 +1m33.086s
13.  Nelson Panciatici    Durango             +1m34.670s
14.  Luiz Razia           Fisichella          +1m35.180s
15.  Ricardo Teixeira     Trident             +1m39.570s
16.  Franck Perera        DPR                 +    1 lap
17.  Alberto Valerio      Piquet              +    1 lap
18.  Luca Filippi         Super Nova          +   2 laps
19.  Rodolfo Gonzalez     Trident             +   2 laps
20.  Sergio Perez         Arden               +   3 laps

Retirements:

     Roldan Rodriguez     Piquet              14 laps
     Andreas Zuber        Fisichella          11 laps
     Edoardo Mortara      Arden               7 laps
     Giedo van der Garde  iSport              1 laps
     Lucas di Grassi      Racing Engineering  0 laps
     Karun Chandhok       Ocean               0 laps

Championship standings

Pos Driver  Points
1   Nico Hulkenberg     46
2   Romain Grosjean     42
3   Vitaly Petrov       41
4   Pastor Maldonado    26
5   Lucas Di Grassi     26
6   Andreas Zuber       20
7   Jerome D'Ambrosio   18
8   Alberto Valerio     16
9   Luca Filippi        13
10  Javier Villa        12
11  Edoardo Mortara     10
12  Karun Chandhok       9
13  Alvaro Parente       8
14  Roldan Rodriguez     8
15  Kamui Kobayashi      7
16  Sergio Perez         7
17  Davide Valsecchi     6
18  Giedo van der Garde  5
        
Pos Team    Points
1   Barwa Addax Team    83
2   ART Grand Prix      72
3   Fat Burner Racing   26
4   Super Nova Racing   25
5   DAMS                25
6   Piquet GP           24
7   FMS International   20
8   Arden International 17
9   Ocean Racing        17
10  Durango              6
11  iSport International 5
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