GP2

Bahrain: Race one report

Nico strides to the title Nico Rosberg has won today's GP2 series race at the Bahrain International Circuit from his ART Grand Prix team-mate Alex Prémat, and championship rival Heikki Kovalainen (Arden International). Having set pole position...

Nico strides to the title

Nico Rosberg has won today's GP2 series race at the Bahrain International Circuit from his ART Grand Prix team-mate Alex Prémat, and championship rival Heikki Kovalainen (Arden International). Having set pole position this morning, Nico needed to finish four points clear of Heikki to be sure of championship success, and a strong drive by the German ensured the margin back to Heikki was exactly the gap he needed to be crowned 2005 GP2 series champion.

Race Report. Nico led the field away from pole position, and held first place through the tricky first corner. Heikki had to contend with his team-mate Nicolas Lapierre who got around the outside of the Finn at the first turn, only to be re-passed one corner later. Unable to make any inroads into Nico's lead, Heikki made one of Arden International's traditional early stops, and was released into clean air to attempt to set a brace of fast laps to square up the difference.

Heikki was showing good speed, and was up to eighth place as the majority of other drivers pitted. Sensing an opportunity to maintain his lead, Nico pitted and emerged with his lead intact. With the pitstops all played out the top three comprised Nico, Heikki and Alex. The Frenchman was on a charge and on his third attempt in three laps, he passed Heikki, set the quickest lap, and pulled out a big gap. With Heikki in third, Nico had all the points he needed, and the German crossed the finish line to wrap up the championship.

His demeanor inside the car spoke a million words, as he punched the air with both fists, waving frantically and slapping the steering wheel. Behind him, Alex took second and Heikki ran home third. Jose Maria Lopez took fourth having started tenth, with Giorgio Pantano fifth, Nicolas sixth, and Hiroki Yoshimoto and Ernesto Viso in seventh and eighth to set up an all-BCN Competicion front row for the final GP2 series race of 2005 tomorrow.

What about the championship? His win today and nine point lead over Heikki means that Nico Rosberg is the 2005 GP2 series champion. But the fight for third is well and truly on. Scott Speed failed to finish the race, and Alex's haul of 10 points puts him just 2.5 points behind the American with one race left.

1st Nico Rosberg ART Grand Prix.1:03:34.327
"This is an unbelievably happy moment for me, to have won the GP2 series. It's unreal! When you look at the list of names in the series you think 'this is going to be a difficult one to win'. It was a great season, and we were quick probably from the second race onwards in Barcelona I had the fastest lap by a country mile and we just progressively got faster and faster. To have had a difficult start and then come out on top at the end is just amazing."

2nd Alex Premat ART Grand Prix. +11.557
"It was really good I think for me, for the team, for Nico because he won the championship, and that is really good for him for the future. After I got past Heikki I pushed really hard to pull away. It was really important because I am fighting in the championship with Scott Speed. I am only 2.5 points behind him now, so I think that if I do a good race tomorrow I can take third in the championship, which would be really great for me and for everyone in France."

3rd Heikki Kovalainen Arden International. +18.768
"That was as good as it gets today, to be honest. I was on the limit and really trying to push. I couldn't match their pace. We took a gamble with the strategy to try and get past but I wasn't able to lap quick enough. It's very disappointing of course I was looking for the win, so second place doesn't mean a lot to me, but I've learnt a lot and it's been a competitive championship."

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About this article
Series GP2
Drivers Giorgio Pantano , Scott Speed , Nico Rosberg , Heikki Kovalainen , Nicolas Lapierre , Hiroki Yoshimoto , Jose Maria Lopez , Ernesto Viso
Teams ART Grand Prix , Arden International