GP2: Rounds 11/12 – Hockenheim, Germany – July 24/25

Feature race

Pastor Maldonardo continued to stamp his authority all over the GP2 series with another dominant win in the Germany feature race, only losing the lead for a single lap during the pit stop sequence and easily able to keep Sergio Perez at arm’s length.

Maldonardo was gifted the race when polesitter Charles Pic had an atrocious start, dropping to eighth place by the first corner. He quickly regained most of those positions, finally overtaking Oliver Turvey on the second lap to recover to third place behind Maldonardo and Perez, which is where he would finish the race.

Turvey had a more turbulent race, falling back and finally getting involved in a fierce battle for 7th position with Adrian Zaugg and Michael Herck with three laps to go. He lost out to Zaugg but survived being rear ended by Herck to hold on to eighth on the line and claim the sprint race pole position on the reversed grid. Herck also survived to the end but then had the DPR die as it crossed the finish line and nearly get rear-ended himself by the caught-unawares Luca Filippi.

It was a disastrous day for DAMS who saw both their cars badly damaged on the first lap: Ho-Pin Tung lost his front wing in a collision with Alberto Valerio, while series returnee Romain Grosjean lost his rear wing when Christian Vietoris rode into and over the back of him. Vietoris had already covered himself in glory by depositing a steel attache case of equipment on the starting grid as he set off on his formation lap after an engineer left it on the car’s bodywork before the lights went out.

Luca Razia retired after contact with Davide Valsecchi, who was judged to have forced him off the road and given a ten grid position penalty for the sprint race by the stewards, who were having a busy time of it having invented a new category to issue warnings under, that of not respecting the “track limits” to catch drivers habitually using the run-off areas as the lack of dry practice running proved problematic for many.

The stewards also gave an in-race drive-thru penalty to Sam Bird who had made his way up to tenth from the rear of the grid: Bird pushed just too hard to get past Giedo van der Garde and hit the Barwa Addax’s sidepod instead which spun the Dutchman around. The only other retirement of the afternoon, which just about managed to avoid Hockenheim’s showery weekend climate to run in the dry, was Fabio Leimer.

Feature race result

Pos  Driver               Team                   Time/Gap
 1.  Pastor Maldonado     Rapax                54:07.807s
 2.  Sergio Perez         Barwa Addax            + 3.866s
 3.  Charles Pic          Arden                 + 12.423s
 4.  Dani Clos            Racing Engineering    + 12.900s
 5.  Jules Bianchi        ART                   + 23.175s
 6.  Marcus Ericsson      Super Nova            + 26.399s
 7.  Adrian Zaugg         Trident               + 38.594s
 8.  Oliver Turvey        iSport                + 42.832s
 9.  Michael Herck        DPR                   + 45.293s
10.  Luca Filippi         Super Nova            + 45.387s
11.  Alberto Valerio      Coloni                + 47.278s
12.  Giedo van der Garde  Barwa Addax           + 48.783s
13.  Johnny Cecotto       Trident               + 52.108s
14.  Sam Bird             ART                   + 52.985s
15.  Vlado Arabadjiev     Coloni              + 1:02.845s
16.  Giacomo Ricci        DPR                     + 1 lap
17.  Davide Valsecchi     iSport                  + 1 lap
18.  Rodolfo Gonzalez     Arden                   + 1 lap
19.  Max Chilton          Ocean                  + 2 laps
20.  Romain Grosjean      DAMS                   + 3 laps


     Fabio Leimer         Ocean               34 laps
     Ho-Pin Tung          DAMS                9 laps
     Luiz Razia           Rapax               4 laps
     Christian Vietoris   Racing Engineering  0 laps

Sprint race

A fascinating sprint race of fluctuating form and fortune made for a good morning’s entertainment at the dry but dull Hockenheim circuit.

Oliver Turvey had a sluggish start, losing two places off the grid to Adrian Zaugg and Marcus Ericsson. But to his credit, Turvey did not let his chin drop and instead he managed to pass Ericsson at the hairpin on lap one to undo some of the damage. He was rewarded for his efforts by being in the ideal position to capitalise on a mistake by Zaugg, who misjudged his braking the second time into turn 1 and ran wide allowing Turvey to reclaim the lead.

Ericsson meanwhile found himself caught in the middle of a compression accident, the meat in a sandwich between Jules Bianchi and Sergio Perez that caused wing damage that sent him to the pits. At this stage of proceedings it was Perez who was on flying form, quickly passing Bianchi with a nice switchback move at the chicane on lap 7 and then cruising past Zaugg two laps later to take second place.

It was only a matter of time – and not much time at that – before Perez seemed to catch Turvey napping (or at least not minded to make a fight of it, a recurring characteristic of the Briton) to take the lead on lap 11. Considering that in the feature race Perez had been a strong but unspectacular second, the quantum leap that Barwa Addax seemed to have made overnight was astounding, as the Mexican was in a class of his own and leapt away at nearly a second a lap until he felt safe enough to put it into autopilot to the finish.

If Perez’s leap in form was a surprise, then Pastor Maldonardo’s corresponding slump was a genuine shock. Up to fourth in the opening laps, he then struggled with handling into the corners and found himself easy prey for the likes of Jules Bianchi, Dani Clos and Charles Pic, although Pic was later rendered irrelevant when he was handed a drive-thru for the new steward’s plaything, “not respecting track limits”.

On lap 12 Maldonardo lost the final points position to Sam Bird, who had been driving extremely well to climb up from 14th on the grid. Performing even better was Romain Grosjean, who was charging through the field in the second half of the race to end up right behind Bird and Maldonardo, all three of them somewhat frustrated by Dani Clos in fifth. Grosjean demonstrated again just how off-colour Maldonardo was by taking the position from him with little drama, but all four cars were staying bottled up very close to one another.

Inevitably it was a storm that was bound to break, and messily at that: with two laps to go, Bird – feeling Grosjean breathing down his neck and desperately needing to dispatch Clos without further delay – finally put in an inelegant but successful lunge on the Racing Engineering car at the hairpin. Behind them, Grosjean had been late-braking in his own move on Bird that now found Clos in the way; Maldonardo was also close behind and seized the opportunity presented by the confusion to try his own move on Grosjean, which put the two cars right alongside on the exit out of the corner. Maldonardo tried to squeeze Grosjean out on the grass, Grosjean just as robustly tried to barge the Rapax aside, and the inevitable collision occurred: tyres fused together and both were suddenly shot off at right angles into the barrier, their race over.

The only other clash of the afternoon was between Rodolfo Gonzalez and Johnny Cecotto on lap 16: initially it seemed as though only Cecotto’s front wing was the casualty, but some eight laps later Gonzalez’s rear wing support strut suddenly failed coming out of turn 1, seemingly a belated result of the early collision, that left the Arden limping back to the pits for an early retirement.

Up in front though, Sergio Perez was celebrating an emphatic win, and hoping that this marked the return of the peerless form he had shown flashes of early in the season. With only four weekends remaining it’s probably too late to start considering closing the 22pt gap in the championship to Maldonardo, but there’s still a very tight battle for second place to be decided between Perez, Clos and Bianchi.

Sprint race result

POS DRIVERS           TEAMS                    TIME     
1   S. Perez          Barwa Addax Team         38:02.071  
2   O. Turvey         iSport International     + 6.338    
3   A. Zaugg          Trident Racing           + 8.111    
4   J. Bianchi        ART Grand Prix           + 13.575   
5   S. Bird           ART Grand Prix           + 14.948   
6   D. Clos           Racing Engineering       + 17.096   
7   L. Filippi        Super Nova Racing        + 17.386   
8   M. Herck          DPR                      + 21.287   
9   G. Van Der Garde  Barwa Addax Team         + 22.492   
10  C. Vietoris       Racing Engineering       + 23.706   
11  G. Ricci          DPR                      + 24.535   
12  A. Valerio        Scuderia Coloni          + 27.981   
13  L. Razia          Rapax                    + 28.234   
14  H. Tung           Dams                     + 29.197   
15  V. Arabadzhiev    Scuderia Coloni          + 32.532   
16  M. Chilton        Ocean Racing Technology  + 37.938   
17  C. Pic            Arden International      + 40.261   
18  D. Valsecchi      iSport International     + 41.474   


    R. Grosjean       Dams                     Lap 24
    P. Maldonado      Rapax                    Lap 24
    R. Gonzalez       Arden International      Lap 23
    J. Cecotto        Trident Racing           Lap 14
    M. Ericsson       Super Nova Racing        Lap 2 
    F. Leimer         Ocean Racing Technology  Lap 1 

GP2 championship standings

Pos Driver            Pts
1   P. Maldonado      66
2   S. Perez          45
3   D. Clos           43
4   J. Bianchi        39
5   G. Van Der Garde  27
6   S. Bird           24
7   C. Pic            23
8   L. Razia          20
9   O. Turvey         18
10  D. Valsecchi      17
11  M. Ericsson       11
12  M. Herck          10
13  F. Leimer         8
14  G. Ricci          8
15  J. D'Ambrosio     7
16  A. Zaugg          6
17  C. Vietoris       5
18  A. Valerio        4
19  J. Cecotto        3

Pos Team             Pts
1   Rapax            86
2   Barwa Addax      72
3   ART Grand Prix   63
4   Racing Eng.      48
5   iSport           35
6   Arden            23
7   DPR              18
8   Super Nova       11
9   Trident Racing   9
10  Ocean Racing     8
11  Dams             7
12  Scuderia Coloni  4

    Leave a Reply

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

    You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

    Twitter picture

    You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

    Google+ photo

    You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

    Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: