Razia secures Sepang feature race honours

Luiz Razia - GP2 Feature Race

Luiz Razia backed up his qualifying result by securing the first victory of the 2012 GP2 Series at Sepang. Having taken the lead at the start, the Brazilian driver didn’t look back as he secured his first victory since Monza 2009 and Arden’s first since Barcelona 2010. Completing the podium was DAMS Davide Valsecchi and Carlin’s Max Chilton. For Chilton and Carlin, it was their first GP2 podium finish.

Razia seized the advantage at the start, as Valsecchi made a poor getaway which dropped him down to fourth, behind the fast starting Fabio Leimer (Racing Engineering), who had jumped up the order from fifth to lie second, while lying third was Scuderia Coloni’s Stefano Coletti. By the end of the opening lap, Razia had opened up a two second advantage and would never be caught by his rivals.

Behind, the battle for second started to heat up and it was Coletti who was intent on moving up the order, and he made his move on Leimer before allowing Valsecchi to gain the position and on the sixth lap, Valsecchi moved back into second, 5.1s behind Razia.

Valsecchi was on a charge and he went about setting the fastest lap of the race as he chased down Razia in the Arden International car but the Brazilian driver maintained the advantage to the Italian. Leimer, on the other hand, was struggling to keep Coletti and Chilton behind him while GP3 graduate James Calado (Lotus GP) and British Formula 3 Champion Felipe Nasr (DAMS) were in close company.

Coletti was the first driver in the lead pack to make his pitstop, while Leimer and Nasr followed suit a lap later. Chilton and Calado made their stops after that while Valsecchi waiting until lap twelve, which handed second place to Calado’s Lotus GP team-mate, Esteban Gutierrez, who had worked his way up from fifteenth on the grid.

Razia pitted on lap fourteen and rejoined with a 9.7s advantage over Valsecchi, while Chilton had moved into the top three and then spent the remainder of the race defending his position from Leimer, while the battle for points and Pole Position for the second race saw Coletti, Nasr, Calado, Gutierrez, Giedo van der Garde (Caterham Racing) and Fabrizio Crestani (Venezuela GP Lazarus) all in a close battle, and Gutierrez secured seventh after Calado went wide at turn fifteen.

Rain approached the circuit and with four laps remaining, was reported at turn six. No drivers switched to the intermediate tyres and at the flag, Razia secured the victory from Valsecchi and Chilton. Rounding out the top ten was Leimer, Coletti, Nasr, Gutierrez, Calado, van der Garde and Crestani – positions three to nine were nose to tail while Crestani finished just two seconds behind.

Calado and Gutierrez form up the front row for the sprint race tomorrow, while Razia and Valsecchi will line up on the fourth row of the grid.

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Pole for Valsecchi in Malaysia

Davide Valsecchi

Davide Valsecchi secured the opening Pole Position for the 2012 GP2 Series at Sepang, ensuring that the DAMS outfit continued their 2011 Championship winning form.

Joining Valsecchi on the front row is his 2011 Caterham Team Air Asia (Now named Caterham Racing) team-mate, Luiz Razia, who joined Arden International over the winter. Rounding out the top three is Max Chilton for Carlin.

Valsecchi set his Pole Position time on his third lap of the session and wasn’t beaten, but four others came close to bettering the Italians time, as the top five were covered by a tenth of a second.

The early running was set by Lotus GP’s Esteban Gutierrez, before Rodolfo Gonzalez (Caterham Racing) topped the times, beating Gutierrez’s best effort by a tenth of a second. Valsecchi soon bettered Gonzalez time and moved to the top of the times, having dipped below the 1m46 mark.

Valsecchi’s DAMS team-mate, 2011 British Formula 3 Champion Felipe Nasr soon made it a DAMS one, two but soon, Racing Engineering saw Fabio Leimer move into P2, 0.09s slower than the Italian driver.

Gonzalez brought out a yellow flag having run too wide and once the track was green again, Chilton was soon on the move and slotted into P2, closing to within 0.06s of Valsecchi, and Stefano Coletti soon put the Scuderia Coloni car into P3 as he took advantage of a clear track.

The final ten minutes saw the battle for Pole Position intensify and it was Razia who soon moved up to P2, having been fastest in the second and third sectors, and his time left him 0.6s off Valsecchi, while Chilton, Coletti and Leimer all finished within a tenth of the DAMS driver.

The top nineteen drivers were covered by 0.9s, and the top ten was completed by GP3 graduate James Calado (Lotus GP), Jolyon Palmer (iSport International), Giedo van der Garde (Caterham Racing), Fabio Onidi (Scuderia Coloni) and Nasr.

Valsecchi will face a tough fight tomorrow to secure the victory as the tyre strategy will be one to watch, as preserving the Pirelli tyres will be key to having a good race in the heat and humidity of Malaysia.

GP2 Qualifying Results:

Position Driver Team Time
1 Davide Valsecchi DAMS 1m45.494
2 Luiz Razia Arden International 1m45.554
3 Max Chilton Carlin 1m45.558
4 Stefano Coletti Scuderia Coloni 1m45.577
5 Fabio Leimer Racing Engineering 1m45.588
6 James Calado Lotus GP 1m45.638
7 Jolyon Palmer iSport International 1m45.758
8 Giedo van der Garde Caterham Racing 1m45.773
9 Fabio Onidi Scuderia Coloni 1m45.810
10 Felipe Nasr DAMS 1m45.942
11 Johnny Cecotto Barwa Addax Team 1m46.012
12 Fabrizio Crestani Venezuela GP Lazarus 1m46.138
13 Stephane Richelmi Trident Racing 1m46.150
14 Josef Kral Barwa Addax Team 1m46.160
15 Esteban Gutierrez Lotus GP 1m46.186
16 Tom Dillmann Rapax 1m46.264
17 Rio Haryanto Carlin 1m46.392
18 Nathanael Berthon Racing Engineering 1m46.428
19 Nigel Melker Ocean Racing Technology 1m46.489
20 Marcus Ericsson iSport International 1m46.557
21 Jon Lancaster Ocean Racing Technology 1m46.662
22 Julian Leal Trident Racing 1m46.868
23 Rodolfo Gonzalez Caterham Racing 1m46.962
24 Simon Trummer Arden International 1m47.004
25 Ricardo Teixeira Rapax 1m48.113
26 Giancarlo Serenelli Venezuela GP Lazarus 1m49.620

Pic on Pole for 2011 GP2 Vice Champion.

Charles Pic (Barwa Addax Team) has boosted his chances of finishing the 2011 GP2 Series as the Vice Champion after securing his third Pole Position of the season, having seen off the attentions of local hero and fellow Vice Champion contender Luca Filippi (Scuderia Coloni) while Fabio Leimer (Rapax) rounded out the top three after a scorching qualifying session at Monza.

Pic topped the final qualifying session of the season with a 1:32.349 to secure Pole Position, a time which he set after just seven minutes. At the flag, nineteen drivers were within a second of Pic’s time but none of them could better the time set early into the session.

Having finished P2 in the previous three qualifying sessions, Filippi was determined to not finish second at Monza and he was soon on top of the times. His time was soon beaten by Leimer and then newly crowned Champion Romain Grosjean (Dams) but the Italian wasn’t going to give in and soon set a time which looked good enough for pole… Pic, however, had other ideas.

Once Pic was back on top, it appeared that Filippi was going to bounce back on his next flying lap – that was until Esteban Gutierrez (Lotus ART) binned it at the Ascari complex and went into the barrier backwards, the fight was over.

Filippi was forced to back off due to the Gutierrez incident and that was that. Grosjean, Leimer and the returning Alvaro Parente (Carlin) all went wide as the searched for that extra bit of speed and time during the closing minutes but the damage had been done and Pic was able to celebrate.

Parente and Grosjean completed the Monza qualifying top five, while Dani Clos (Racing Engineering), Christian Vietoris (Racing Engineering), Adam Carroll (Super Nova Racing), Sam Bird (iSport International) and Max Chilton (Carlin) completed the top ten.

GP2 Vice Champion contenders Giedo van der Garde (Barwa Addax Team) and Jules Bianchi (Lotus ART) both face uphill tasks after they were only able to finish nineteenth and twentieth fastest at Monza.

All of this will mean that the final GP2 feature race of the 2011 campaign will be a corker – with two contenders for Vice Champion up at the front while the other two starting back on row ten – the race is set up for fireworks.

GP2 Monza Qualifying Result:

Position

Driver

Team

1

Charles Pic

Barwa Addax Team

2

Luca Filippi

Scuderia Coloni

3

Fabio Leimer

Rapax

4

Alvaro Parente

Carlin

5

Romain Grosjean

Dams

6

Dani Clos

Racing Engineering

7

Christian Vietoris

Racing Engineering

8

Adam Carroll

Super Nova Racing

9

Sam Bird

iSport International

10

Max Chilton

Carlin

11

Jolyon Palmer

Arden International

12

Josef Kral

Arden International

13

Michael Herck

Scuderia Coloni

14

Davide Valsecchi

Caterham Team AirAsia

15

Marcus Ericsson

iSport International

16

Rodolfo Gonzalez

Trident Racing

17

Brendon Hartley

Ocean Racing Technology

18

Luiz Razia

Caterham Team AirAsia

19

Jules Bianchi

Lotus ART

20

Giedo van der Garde

Barwa Addax Team

21

Fairuz Fauzy

Super Nova Racing

22

Johnny Cecotto

Ocean Racing Technology

23

Julian Leal

Rapax

24

Stephane Richelmi

Trident Racing

25

Esteban Gutierrez

Lotus ART

26

Pal Varhaug

Dams

Coletti Secures Hungary Honours From P21.

Stefano Coletti Coming from P21 to P1.

A combination of the weather and two Safety Car periods enabled Stefano Coletti (Trident Racing) to secure the honours in the GP2 Sprint race, stunning his rivals as he secured the victory by 7.2s, having lined up in P21. He led home Esteban Gutierrez (Lotus ART) and Romain Grosjean (Dams).

The teams faced a tough decision on tyre choice: all but seven drivers opted to start on wet tyres, but the seven slick starters included Luca Filippi (Scuderia Coloni), Coletti and Gutierrez – the young Mexican lining up in twenty fourth position.

Christian Vietoris (Racing Engineering) started the Sprint race from P1 and the early laps were about the young German driver. He made a perfect start from Pole Position and he held the lead into turn one while Giedo van der Garde (Barwa Addax Team) and Charles Pic (Barwa Addax Team) both moved up the inside of Jules Bianchi (Lotus ART) while the slick shod Filippi went wide and dropped to the rear of the field.

Vietoris, up at the front, was pulling away from the field while Bianchi was busy defending fourth from Grosjean but the Frenchman from Dams was ahead on lap two after Bianchi ran wide at turn one and soon, he was on the back of Pic. Meanwhile, Vietoris had opened up an 8s gap over van der Garde, the Dutchman wasn’t able to match the pace set by Vietoris.

With the track drying out, the seventh lap saw the start of the pitstops for the change to slicks. Pic pitted a lap later after he was struggling to keep Grosjean behind him. Soon after that, Max Chilton (Carlin) stopped out on track, bringing out the Safety Car and Vietoris, van der Garde, Grosjean and Bianchi made their switch to slicks, and rejoined in the same order.

Vietoris was in control as the race got back underway , but behind there was a change as Grosjean got ahead of van der Garde after both drivers ran wide. Bianchi was the next man to challenge van der Garde but the pair collided at turn four, sending the Lotus ART driver to the back of the field.

Coletti, by this stage had found himself up in sixth position, behind the battling duo of Luiz Razia (Caterham Team AirAsia) and Sam Bird (iSport International) and he gained two positions when the two ahead of him made a small mistake. Fourth became third when he got ahead of a slower van der Garde.

The rain then returned and Bianchi was the first to blink, pitting for another set of wets. Grosjean, meanwhile, had caught Vietoris and a small mistake opened the door for Grosjean – but while having to avoid the spinning German, Coletti slid past and into the race lead.

Dani Clos had stopped out on track, bringing the Safety Car back into action. Coletti and Grosjean took the opportunity to pit for wet tyres and rejoined behind Pic, who hadn’t pitted.

At the restart, Pic ran too wide at turn one and allowed Coletti through. This was the last time the field saw the Monegasque driver as he stormed off into the distance. The closing laps were about the battle for second between Grosjean and Gutierrez.

The tyre strategy worked by Gutierrez and Lotus ART brought the young Mexican up from twenty fourth and onto the tail of the Dams driver – the final corner saw Gutierrez secure second from Grosjean. The final points scoring positions went the way of van der Garde, Bird and Bianchi.

Grosjean has further extended his Championship lead as the field heads to their summer break before Spa-Francorchamps. He tops the standings with 74 points compared to the 49 points of van der Garde. Pic sits third on 42 points while Bianchi and Bird both have 35 points.

Picture Credit: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service

Grosjean Secures Dramatic Wet Sprint Race Victory.

An Overjoyed Grosjean Takes to the Nurburgring Podium after his GP2 Sprint Race Victory.

Romain Grosjean (Dams) saw his GP2 Championship lead extended after improving on his Feature Race podium finish by securing a thrilling victory in changeable conditions during this morning’s GP2 Sprint Race.

The Frenchman kept a cool, calm head and put himself in a position to capitalise on others misfortune to secure the victory ahead of Jules Bianchi (Lotus ART) and Luca Filippi (Scuderia Coloni).

With heavy rain in the Eifel Mountains ahead of the race, there was no choice but to set up for the wet conditions and hope for the best: when the lights went out, Giedo van der Garde (Barwa Addax Team) made a storming start to separate the front row starters, Sam Bird (iSport International) and Dani Clos (Racing Engineering).

The Dutchman was soon in the gravel alongside his Spanish rival as the pair retired at turn three. Bird then joined them a lap later and the stage was set, Bianchi leading Grosjean with Charles Pic (Barwa Addax Team), Esteban Gutierrez (Lotus ART) and Filippi.

The latter three were soon involved in an intense battle for the final step of the podium for lap after lap while the final point scoring spot was also being diced over – the position changed hands every time the field came past the pits. With the track then starting to dry, each team in the pitlane had to decide: swap to slicks or stay on wets and hope to hold on.

Filippi and Pic made the call to switch on the eleventh lap, and the Frenchman picked up a drive through penalty for his efforts, it was the Italian driver who was soon setting fastest laps and the decision was then made.

Everyone else called their drivers in over the next few laps: Bianchi made his stop three laps later, having inherited the race lead. He rejoined with Grosjean and Filippi on his tail. The trio then sliced their way through the remaining wet tyre drivers before starting an intense battle for the lead.

With two laps remaining, Bianchi made a small mistake up at the chicane which resulted in him cutting the corner, and that was all Grosjean needed. The Dams driver sailed through for the victory while Bianchi and Filippi scrabbled over the second step of the podium. Both drivers survived a small contact at turn one to come home second and third.

Behind, Christian Vietoris (Racing Engineering) sliced his way through the field and survived all of the chaos to come home fourth from twenty third on the grid. Adam Carroll (Super Nova Racing) had a lonely race in fifth while Max Chilton (Carlin) secured sixth and the final point after a mature drive under extreme pressure from Bird.

Leaving Germany, Grosjean has 59 points compared to the 41 of van der Garde. Pic is now third on 34 points, one ahead of Bird (33) and Bianchi on 32 heading to Hungary next weekend.

Sprint Race Results:

 

 

Position

Driver

Team

1

Romain Grosjean

Dams

2

Jules Bianchi

Lotus ART

3

Luca Filippi

Scuderia Coloni

4

Christian Vietoris

Racing Engineering

5

Adam Carroll

Super Nova Racing

6

Max Chilton

Carlin

7

Sam Bird

iSport International

8

Fabio Leimer

Rapax

9

Julian Leal

Rapax

10

Michael Herck

Scuderia Coloni

11

Josef Kral

Arden International

12

Fairuz Fauzy

Super Nova Racing

13

Kevin Mirocha

Ocean Racing Technology

14

Luiz Razia

Caterham Team AirAsia

15

Rodolfo Gonzalez

Trident Racing

16

Marcus Ericsson

iSport International

17

Pal Varhaug

Dams

DNF

Davide Valsecchi

Caterham Team AirAsia

DNF

Jolyon Palmer

Arden International

DNF

Esteban Gutierrez

Lotus ART

DNF

Alvaro Parente

Carlin

DNF

Johnny Cecotto

Ocean Racing Technology

DNF

Stefano Coletti

Trident Racing

DNF

Giedo van der Garde

Barwa Addax Team

DNF

Dani Clos

Racing Engineering

EXC

Charles Pic

Barwa Addax Team

Picture Credit: GP2 Media Service

Bianchi Claims Silverstone GP2 Feature Race Spills.

Christian Vietoris, Jules Bianchi, Marcus Ericsson - the GP2 Feature Race Podium.

Jules Bianchi (Lotus ART) took advantage of the mixed conditions to secure his first GP2 Series victory by four seconds from Christian Vietoris (Racing Engineering) and Marcus Ericsson (iSport International).

The torrid weather which affected qualifying yesterday made an unwelcomed return to Silverstone before the start of the GP2 Feature race and as it got heavier, the race start was delayed by ten minutes before it was decided that the Safety Car would lead the field round for the opening laps.

After two laps behind the Safety Car, the race was underway with Bianchi leading Alvaro Parente (Carlin), Vietoris and Dani Clos (Racing Engineering) while Ericsson was making progress up the field as he moved ahead of Max Chilton (Carlin) for fifth position.

Thanks to the chaos brought on by the rain during qualifying, the points leaders all found themselves lower down the order than was to be expected but they were determined to work their way back up the field as quickly as possible: Giedo van der Garde (Barwa Addax Team) had started nineteenth but found himself fifteenth after a single lap while title rival, Romain Grosjean (Dams) had started thirteenth after a penalty but he had improved to tenth.

With a drying track, the pitstops were going to play an important part in the strategies as they would make or break a driver’s race. The iSport International duo of Ericsson and Sam Bird as well as Esteban Gutierrez (Lotus ART) struggled to adapt to the changing conditions.

Everyone waited for one another to blink with the switch to slick tyres and the first drivers to make the switch were Ericsson and Stefano Coletti (Trident) while a lap later, Bird and van der Garde made the switch.

The floodgates soon opened as the rest of the field followed the trend and switched on to slicks over the following two laps. Up at the front, Vietoris made his stop a lap before Bianchi and he made up a huge amount of time on the Frenchman – after his stop, the two of them went wheel to wheel for a number of laps, the race lead changing hands constantly as they both looked for the advantage.

Ultimately, the Frenchman made a small gap over his German rival and a series of qualifying laps then saw Bianchi pull away from Vietoris and with it, his first win in GP2. Vietoris came in second, while Ericsson rounded off the podium.

Fourth was Grosjean – he has seen his Championship lead extended as he secured the points for the fastest race lap in the process.

Fifth went the way of Bird – who had been fighting it out with a number of drivers throughout the race duration before eking out a gap over sixth placed Clos.

In the Trident Racing camkp, Coletti will be out collecting the beers for his mechanics as they recovered a front row start for the sprint race from twenty-first on the grid while Pole Position for the sprint race tomorrow has gone to van der Garde – the Dutchman fending off a charging Parente in the closing laps.

Picture Credit: GP2 Media Service.

GP2 Monaco Feature Race – Perez defeats the Monaco Maestro.

Sergio Perez has taken victory in the weekends feature race at Monaco, having seen off the late race charges of Pastor Maldonado, the Venezuelan being one of the best drivers at the twisty circuit in the Principality.

Perez made the best start from second on the grid to take the lead ahead of Maldonado and the slow started Dani Clos, who had qualified on pole during the wet qualifying session the day before.

Behind the front three, there was mayhem behind – Fabio Leimer stalled on the grid, and at the first corner, Ste Devote – young Brit Max Chilton learnt how to fly as he hit the rear of Davide Valsecchi’s iSport International car and into instant retirement. Valsecchi made it back round to the pits for repairs and returned to the track a couple if laps down.

Up front, Perez was taking advantage of the clear track ahead of him as he built up a sizeable gap over Maldonado and Clos – the three of them showing that their dominance of the wet qualifying session wasn’t a fluke. A stellar qualifying performance from Scuderia Coloni’s Alberto Valerio meant he started fourth and as the race progressed, he manfully held off the ART Grand Prix cars of Jules Bianchi and Sam Bird.

Clos was the first of the front runners to dive in the pits for his mandatory pit stop at the end of the fourteenth lap – Clos was lucky to get away with it as behind, the DAMS car of Ho-Pin Tung ended his race prematurely in the tyre wall – having lost control dancing over a kerb at the chicane.

Cue safety car. Race leader Perez and Maldonado both pitted under the safety car and were lucky to get out ahead of the pack – they managed it just.

Once the Safety Car was withdrawn, Perez set about rebuilding his sizeable gap to Maldonado while pole man Clos had to think about the chasing pack – defending from Bianchi during the second half of the race. The ART Grand Prix driver had managed to pass Valerio during the pit stops. Dutchman Giedo van der Garde made an early stop and his bravery paid off as he finished sixth, ahead of the battle between Maldonado’s Rapax team mate Luiz Razia and the sole DAMS car of Jerome d’Ambrosio. D’Ambrosio finished eighth and thus claimed pole position for tomorrows sprint race.

With the win and the races fastest lap, Perez takes over the Championship lead by a point from Maldonado and Clos.

Feature Race results:

Position Number Name Nationality Team Gap
1 4 Sergio Perez MEX Barwa Addax Team
2 15 Pastor Maldonado VEN Rapax 0.617s
3 7 Dani Clos ESP Racing Engineering 10.688s
4 1 Jules Bianchi FRA ART Grand Prix 12.117s
5 20 Alberto Valerio BRA Scuderia Coloni 14.117s
6 3 Giedo Van Der Garde NED Barwa Addax Team 17.337s
7 14 Luiz Razia BRA Rapax 35.967s
8 11 Jerome D’Ambrosio BEL DAMS 37.403s
9 24 Johnny Cecotto VEN Trident Racing 46.635s
10 17 Rodolfo Gonzalez VEN Arden International 53.055s
11 16 Charles Pic FRA Arden International 53.977s
12 6 Marcus Ericsson SWE Super Nova Racing 54.913s
13 5 Josef Kral CZE Super Nova Racing 57.571s
14 8 Christian Vietoris GER Racing Engineering 58.636s
15 2 Sam Bird GBR ART Grand Prix 59.160s
16 9 Oliver Turvey GBR iSport International 59.942s
17 26 Michael Herck ROU DPR 63.008s
18 27 Giacomo Ricci ITA DPR 63.419s
DNF 10 Davide Valsecchi ITA iSport International 21 laps
DNF 21 Vladimir Arabadzhiev BUL Scuderia Coloni 19 laps
DNF 12 Ho-Pin Tung CHN DAMS 13 laps
DNF 19 Fabio Leimer SUI Ocean Racing Technology
DNF 25 Adrian Zaugg RSA Trident Racing
DNF 18 Max Chilton GBR Ocean Racing Technology

Thanks to www.gp2series.com for the information regarding this race report and race result.