GP2: Rounds 9/10 – Silverstone, Great Britain – July 10/11

Feature race

Pastor Maldonardo stormed away from the grid at the start of the GP2 feature race, leaving a sluggish polesitter Jules Bianchi struggling to retain even second place from Dani Clos in third, while behind them Sam Bird got the better of Oliver Turvey for fourth place.

And once Maldonardo was unleashed, that was the end of any battle for the win, as he built up an absolutely dominating lead that easily endured the mandatory pit stops and saw him safely to the chequered flag.

There was surprisingly little incident in the race in general, despite the field taking to some wildly ambitious lines in the opening laps through the redeveloped Silverstone course’s huge acres of run-off areas. Michael Herck did manage to wreck his front wing on the back of Luca Fillipi’s car consigning them both to an extra pit stop for running repairs, and Charles Pic was tapped into a spin by light contact from Giedo van der Garde but was able to recover and rejoin the race.

The mandatory pit stops were most done by third race distance, with Turvey losing out badly to the earlier stoppers such as Christian Vietoris, Sergio Perez, Davide Valsecchi and van der Garde who pushed him back down to ninth. Perez mounted an eighteen lap campaign to rattle Vietoris which finally bore fruit with two laps to go when Perez finally took advantage of a small mistake from Vietoris to pull off a successful lunge. And Turvey also got an unexpected gift when van der Garde made a mistake going into the left hander at the end of Club straight on the final lap, allowing Turvey to take eighth place at the line and put himself into pole position in the reverse grid for the sprint race.

Only two cars failed to last the distance, with Ho-Pin Tung’s DAMS car suffering a noticeable misfire early in the race after the car had been rebuilt overnight following a mishap in Friday practice, and Rapax’s Luiz Razia pulling off the track mid-way through the race with mechanical problems.

Feature race result

Pos  Driver               Team                   Time/Gap
 1.  Pastor Maldonado     Rapax                50m21.479s
 2.  Jules Bianchi        ART                   + 10.125s
 3.  Dani Clos            Racing Engineering    + 19.549s
 4.  Sam Bird             ART                   + 20.979s
 5.  Sergio Perez         Barwa Addax           + 32.039s
 6.  Christian Vietoris   Racing Engineering    + 35.739s
 7.  Davide Valsecchi     iSport                + 37.702s
 8.  Oliver Turvey        iSport                + 38.753s
 9.  Giedo van der Garde  Barwa Addax           + 39.087s
10.  Charles Pic          Arden                 + 39.845s
11.  Jerome D'Ambrosio    DAMS                  + 40.101s
12.  Marcus Ericsson      Super Nova            + 53.949s
13.  Giacomo Ricci        DPR                   + 54.906s
14.  Alberto Valerio      Coloni              + 1m02.132s
15.  Adrian Zaugg         Trident             + 1m11.973s
16.  Rodolfo Gonzalez     Arden               + 1m12.825s
17.  Fabio Leimer         Ocean               + 1m14.214s
18.  Johnny Cecotto       Trident             + 1m16.113s
19.  Max Chilton          Ocean               + 1m17.805s
20.  Luca Filippi         Super Nova          + 1m33.652s
21.  Vlado Arabadjiev     Coloni              + 1m34.243s
22.  Michael Herck        DPR                     + 1 lap

Retirements:

     Luiz Razia           Rapax               18 laps
     Ho-Pin Tung          DAMS                12 laps

Sprint Race

An all-iSport front row allowed Oliver Turvey to claim the early lead in the sprint race, but a poor start from Christian Vietoris in third place allowed Sergio Perez to mount an immediate strong challenge on Davide Valsecchi for second place which was only narrowly fought off.

Vietoris’s poor start, coupled with an empty grid slot where Sam Bird should have been if his ART hadn’t died a smoky death on the way to the grid, allowed Dani Clos to slip through into fourth place and Pastor Maldonado to deliver another excellent start, climbing from eighth on the grid to fifth by the first corner.

It was soon apparent that of all the drivers in the lead positions, Perez had far and away the fastest car. He finally caught Valsecchi napping in the downhill braking into Vale three laps in, and was then immediately on the back of Turvey for the lead – muscling past a slightly compliant Turvey down the inside on the very next lap at the end of Hanger Straight. Once released, Perez’ pace was simply staggering, pulling away at over a second a lap from the competition and never under any threat from then until the chequered flag.

If Perez was showing dazzling speed, then Valsecchi was the flipside – the car clearly not fast enough to hold off the likes of Clos and Maldonardo, the latter pulling off a sublime piece of overtaking that was surely the move of the morning to claim fourth place. Clos and Maldonardo then closed up on the back of Turvey and hounded him for all that they were worth, but ultimately they found Turvey rather more on guard than when Perez had got past him, and they settled for third and fourth place.

Turvey’s fortitude in seeing off the late race challenge from Clos and Maldonardo was put in context by the sight of his iSport team mate Valsecchi losing fifth place on the penultimate lap to Jules Bianchi, who had such superior pace that he was able to dance all around Valsecchi before finally deciding to go the long way around on the outside and pulling it off with contemptuous ease, nothing Valsecchi could do to avoid the humiliation.

The race saw only one retirement, Johnny Cecotto, two laps before the end. There were some other minor, harmless spins including Marcus Ericsson, Rodolfo Gonzalez and – on the first lap – Luiz Razia, who was helped into his spin by robust contact on his left rear wheel from Adrian Zaugg who was making an inelegant lunge down the inside that was never going to work. Zaugg was handed a drive-thru penalty for his impoliteness.

Race result

Pos  Driver               Team                   Time/Gap
 1.  Sergio Perez         Barwa Addax          35m54.531s
 2.  Oliver Turvey        iSport                + 15.386s
 3.  Dani Clos            Racing Engineering    + 15.997s
 4.  Pastor Maldonado     Rapax                 + 16.426s
 5.  Jules Bianchi        ART                   + 17.600s
 6.  Davide Valsecchi     iSport                + 21.767s
 7.  Giedo van der Garde  Barwa Addax           + 22.752s
 8.  Charles Pic          Arden                 + 24.207s
 9.  Luca Filippi         Super Nova            + 24.483s
10.  Christian Vietoris   Racing Engineering    + 25.057s
11.  Jerome D'Ambrosio    DAMS                  + 25.853s
12.  Giacomo Ricci        DPR                   + 25.977s
13.  Fabio Leimer         Ocean                 + 30.192s
14.  Michael Herck        DPR                   + 30.507s
15.  Ho-Pin Tung          DAMS                  + 30.903s
16.  Luiz Razia           Rapax                 + 45.728s
17.  Vlado Arabadzhiev    Coloni                + 48.713s
18.  Marcus Ericsson      Super Nova            + 49.956s
19.  Max Chilton          Ocean                 + 50.214s
20.  Rodolfo Gonzalez     Arden                 + 55.456s
21.  Adrian Zaugg         Trident             + 1m19.313s
22.  Alberto Valerio      Coloni                  + 1 lap

Retirements:

    Johnny Cecotto       Trident             19 laps
    Sam Bird             ART                 0 laps

GP2 championship standings

Pos Driver                   Points
1   Pastor Maldonado         56
2   Daniel Clos              37
3   Jules Bianchi            31
4   Sergio Perez             30
5   Giedo van der Garde      27
6   Sam Bird                 22
7   Luiz Razia               20
8   Davide Valsecchi         17
9   Charles Pic              15
10  Oliver Turvey            12
11  Michael Herck            10
12  Marcus Ericsson          8
13  Fabio Leimer             8
14  Giacomo Ricci            8
15  Jerome D'Ambrosio        7
16  Christian Vietoris       5
17  Alberto Valerio          4
18  Johnny Cecotto Jr.       3
19  Josef Kral               0
20  Ho-Pin Tung              0
21  Max Chilton              0
22  Vlado Arabadjiev         0
23  Luca Filippi             0
24  Rodolfo Gonzalez         0
25  Adrian Zaugg             0

Pos Team                     Points
1   Rapax                    76
2   Barwa Addax Team         57
3   ART Grand Prix           53
4   Racing Engineering       42
5   iSport International     29
6   DPR                      18
7   Arden International      15
8   Super Nova Racing        8
9   Ocean Racing Technology  8
10  DAMS                     7
11  Scuderia Coloni          4
12  Trident Racing           3
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