GP2

Catalunya: ART Grand Prix race one, two report

ART Grand prix team walked away from the Catalunya circuit in the lead of the team championship by 16 points while their drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Alexandre Premat are second and third in the drivers battle, Lewis on 37, two behind Nelson Piquet...

ART Grand prix team walked away from the Catalunya circuit in the lead of the team championship by 16 points while their drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Alexandre Premat are second and third in the drivers battle, Lewis on 37, two behind Nelson Piquet jnr and Alex a further ten adrift on 27.

After securing a brilliant pole position for race one, Lewis Hamilton found himself on the receiving end of a yellow flag infringement and was duly stripped of his best time. This saw the young Brit start the race from fourth on the grid. While he was slow away from the grid, Lewis came in for his pit stop on lap two and once back on track soon started turning out fastest lap after fastest lap. When Piquet was called in for a pit lane penalty, Lewis took the lead and remained there until a last lap racing incident saw his ART teammate Alexandre Premat make a charge for the lead. The two accidentally touched which sent Hamilton into a spin, however he recovered in time to follow Alex across the line for second, giving ART another one two finish.

Race two saw Hamilton start in seventh and Alex eighth with both men soon shooting up the order, Alex to third, Lewis to fourth and despite several challenges for position, they crossed the finish line in the same positions.

Frederic Vasseur: A very good weekend overall, with two podiums and a win for Alex and another podium for Lewis. We must correct several small issues in order to not make the same mistakes in the future and make everything perfect, but the level of performance of the team and the drivers is very good and there is a lot of confidence in the entire team.

Alexandre Premat: Qualifying: 2nd Race 1: Winner Race 2: 3rd Championship position: 3rd, 27 points

The weekend started very well, and it is finished in apotheosis. I felt very at ease for free practice which were carried out on a wet track, so much so that I was 8 tenths faster than everyone else, except Lewis, who was only 3 tenths off of me. Qualifying also went very well at the beginning and I held the fastest time until the red flags appeared, with 7 minutes to go in the session. Unfortunately I then became blocked in traffic, and therefore I could not get the use of my last set of new tyres. I got off to a good start behind Piquet in the first race and everything went well despite a minor fright in one of the fast turns. Then in the pit stop, we lost a wheel nut, but I take my hat off to my mechanics, who only lost 2 seconds due to this. I got back on track right behind Lewis and Piquet, but I was faster than both of them and

I was gaining on Lewis. I prepared for my attack in the last 5 laps. Lewis opened the door a bit at turn 9, I caught the opportunity and dived, he went on the green beyond the kerb and when I pushed the throttle my car slid a bit and unfortunately we touched slightly and Lewis spun. It was a racing incident, but I then took the lead and the win. I received congratulations from everyone, including those in the F1paddock who were watching the race. I then made an excellent start in the second race, which enabled me to gain 5 places, from 8th to 3rd. I was very at ease in the car, but there was not much else I could do as all the other cars were also fast and reliable. Under these conditions, the podium was a great satisfaction for me and the team. I am impatient to race in Monaco, which is the only street circuit that is not on my list of successes. .

Lewis Hamilton: Qualifying: 4th Race 1: 2nd Race 2: 4th Championship position: 2nd, 37 points

The week-end could have been better but we scored big points so that's a good result overall. I did not make a good start in race 1 and lost some positions. The clutch slipped a bit and the car just did not move when I released the brakes. I therefore made an early pit stop, and then pushed hard which allowed me to make up for P2 after everyone changed their tyres. The problem was that my tyres were gone with 5 laps to go, because I made an early pit stop. It was hard to be consistent and keep the gap to Alex who was catching me and on the last lap he went for the inside into turn 9. At the exit his car slid and touched the side of mine. I spun, but fortunately I managed to pull the clutch and kept the motor running and secure 2nd position. I had a good start in race 2 and gained 3 positions to score valuable points for both myself and the team, who once again did a great job this weekend. I learnt a lot from this weekend; we now have to stay focused and to keep improving. I'm looking forward to Monaco.

-art-

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About this article
Series GP2
Drivers Lewis Hamilton , Nelson Piquet , Alexandre Prémat , Frederic Vasseur
Teams ART Grand Prix