GP2: Rounds 3/4 – Monaco, Monte Carlo – May 14/15

Feature race

In the GP2 feature race at Moncao, a slow getaway by polesitter Dani Clos allowed Sergio Perez to take the lead into St Devote, while Pastor Maldonardo lunged down the inside to displace Clos to third.

The predictable compression going into St Devote for the first time also saw Max Chilton plough into the back of David Valsecchi, briefly being launched skyward. Valsecchi pitted for a new rear wing and continued, but later retired after suffering further damage.

Adrian Zaugg was also tipped into a spin at the first corner, while Barcelona winner initially failed to get away from the grid and then probably wished he hadn’t succeeded – misjudging his braking and going straight into a tyre wall at Mirabeau on the first lap.

Midway through the compulsory round of pitstops, Ho-Pin Tung brought out a safety car when he embedded himself in the tyre wall at the chicane, but the leaders were able to pit and maintain their lead thanks to the lead that they had built up.

ART’s Jules Bianchi made an early pit top, getting some quick laps in clean air before the safety car which popped him up to fourth place, which he managed to hold till the end despite strong pressure from Alberto Valerio in the closing laps. But pit stop success wasn’t in store for Sam Bird, whose own stop was a disaster after a problem with an air gun put him to the back of the lead lap.

Ultimately though there was no question as to the winner. Perez had led by as much as 5.2s at some points of the race, although that was eroded by the safety car and he backed off in the final laps, so that in the end the 0.6s margin didn’t reflect his dominance in the race.

Race result

Pos  Driver               Team                    Time/Gap
 1.  Sergio Perez         Barwa Addax         1h00m32.223s
 2.  Pastor Maldonado     Rapax                   + 0.617s
 3.  Dani Clos            Racing Engineering     + 10.688s
 4.  Jules Bianchi        ART                    + 12.117s
 5.  Alberto Valerio      Coloni                 + 14.117s
 6.  Giedo van der Garde  Barwa Addax            + 17.337s
 7.  Luiz Razia           Rapax                  + 35.967s
 8.  Jerome D'Ambrosio    DAMS                   + 37.403s
 9.  Johnny Cecotto       Trident                + 46.535s
10.  Rodolfo Gonzalez     Arden                  + 53.055s
11.  Charles Pic          Arden                  + 53.977s
12.  Marcus Ericsson      Super Nova             + 54.913s
13.  Josef Kral           Super Nova             + 57.571s
14.  Christian Vietoris   Racing Engineering     + 58.636s
15.  Sam Bird             ART                    + 59.160s
16.  Oliver Turvey        iSport                 + 59.942s
17.  Michael Herck        DPR                  + 1m03.008s
18.  Giacomo Ricci        DPR                  + 1m03.419s

Retirements:

     Davide Valsecchi     iSport              21 laps
     Vlado Arabadjiev     Coloni              19 laps
     Ho-Pin Tung          DAMS                13 laps
     Fabio Leimer         Ocean               0 laps
     Max Chilton          Ocean               0 laps
     Adrian Zaugg         Trident             0 laps

Sprint race

Jerome D’Ambrosio led from pole to win his first GP2 victory in the Monaco sprint race.

While the start avoided the St Devote accidents of the feature race, it did see a number of penalties added out for jump starts (Pastor Maldonado and Rodolfo Gonzalez) and cutting the first chicane (Oliver Turvey, Davide Valsecchi, and Fabio Leimer). Christian Vietoris failed to make the start at all thanks to an engine problem.

The first big casualty of the race was Danny Clos, who ripped a wheel off his Racing Engineering car at turn 9 on lap 8. But it was two simultaneous but unconnected accidents on lap 14 that brought out the sole safety car of the afternoon: Alberto Valerio lost control underbraking going into the chicane trying to overtake Luiz Razia and clouted the wall heavily, while Rodolfo Gonzalez restaged Fernando Alonso’s F1 practice crash from earlier in the day in Casino Square with the same devastating effect as befell the Ferrari.

With two heavy accidents in different parts of the circuit, the marshalls scrambled the safety car, which brought D’Ambrosio within striking distance of Giedo van der Garde forcing him to work hard to defend his lead to the chequered flag with a final margin of just 0.3s.

Rapax’s Luiz Razia had looked set for third place for much of the race, but faded toward the end and fell prey to several challengers: Frenchman Jules Bianchi sliced past Razia with an impressive move through St Devote, while Razia lost another spot when he made a mistake on the penultimate lap and allowed Trident’s Johnny Cecotto to slip past into fourth.

Race result

Pos  Driver               Team                  Time/Gap
 1.  Jerome D'Ambrosio    DAMS                43m43.804s
 2.  Giedo van der Garde  Barwa Addax           + 0.351s
 3.  Jules Bianchi        ART                   + 1.078s
 4.  Johnny Cecotto       Trident               + 2.919s
 5.  Luiz Razia           Rapax                 + 6.572s
 6.  Sergio Perez         Barwa Addax           + 7.257s
 7.  Charles Pic          Arden                 + 7.903s
 8.  Josef Kral           Super Nova            + 8.837s
 9.  Marcus Ericsson      Super Nova            + 9.431s
10.  Sam Bird             ART                  + 10.046s
11.  Pastor Maldonado     Rapax                + 10.465s
12.  Adrian Zaugg         Trident              + 11.239s
13.  Vlado Arabadjiev     Coloni               + 12.591s
14.  Max Chilton          Ocean                + 25.246s
15.  Oliver Turvey        iSport               + 25.461s
16.  Davide Valsecchi     iSport               + 25.703s
17.  Fabio Leimer         Ocean                + 26.063s

Retirements:

     Michael Herck        DPR                 22 laps
     Ho-Pin Tung          DAMS                20 laps
     Giacomo Ricci        DPR                 17 laps
     Alberto Valerio      Coloni              14 laps
     Rodolfo Gonzalez     Arden               14 laps
     Dani Clos            Racing Engineering  8 laps
     Christian Vietoris   Racing Engineering  0 laps

GP2 championship standings

Pos Driver                   Points
1   Sergio Perez             17
2   Pastor Maldonado         15
3   Daniel Clos              15
4   Luiz Razia               11
5   Jules Bianchi            11
6   Charles Pic              10
7   Fabio Leimer             8
8   Giedo van der Garde      8
9   Giacomo Ricci            8
10  Jerome D'Ambrosio        7
11  Oliver Turvey            6
12  Sam Bird                 5
13  Alberto Valerio          4
14  Johnny Cecotto Jr.       3
15  Josef Kral               0
16  Marcus Ericsson          0
17  Davide Valsecchi         0
18  Ho-Pin Tung              0
19  Rodolfo Gonzalez         0
20  Adrian Zaugg             0
21  Vlado Arabadjiev         0
22  Max Chilton              0
23  Christian Vietoris       0
24  Michael Herck            0

Pos Team                     Points
1   Rapax                    26
2   Barwa Addax Team         25
3   ART Grand Prix           16
4   Racing Engineering       15
5   Arden International      10
6   Ocean Racing Technology  8
7   DPR                      8
8   DAMS                     7
9   iSport International     6
10  Scuderia Coloni          4
11  Trident Racing           3
12  Super Nova Racing        0
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