GP2

Catalunya: Lucas di Grassi race one report

Third for di Grassi in Barcelona Lucas di Grassi scored the first podium of his GP2 career when he finished third in the Saturday race in Barcelona. However the result was tinged in disappointment for the Renault Driver Development squad ...

Third for di Grassi in Barcelona

Lucas di Grassi scored the first podium of his GP2 career when he finished third in the Saturday race in Barcelona. However the result was tinged in disappointment for the Renault Driver Development squad member, who felt he could have done better had tyre problems not slowed his progress in the latter stages of the race.

Di Grassi was fourth in qualifying with the ART entry, but moved up a place after one of the drivers ahead was penalised. That left him behind only the I-Sport entries of Timo Glock and Andreas Zuber.

"I qualified fourth on time, but I started third because Giorgio Pantano lost places as he did his time under yellows," said Lucas. "I think I did a good job, and I made no mistakes. I was maybe not as quick as I could have been, and it was not really a clear lap, but I was quick. It was just that the I-Sport cars were really fast, and they had a set-up for qualifying that was much better than everybody else's. But I was happy to be starting in the top three."

Zuber stalled and created an aborted start, so Lucas went to the grid with only Glock in front of him. He held on to second, but almost immediately a safety car was called out after a series of incidents. At the end of the second lap Lucas made his compulsory pit stop in order to get it out of the way while the safety car was out. Glock chose to stay out.

Lucas should have emerged at the head of the queue of cars that pitted, but in the pit lane he got caught behind Kazuki Nakajima, who was slowing and waiting for team mate Nicolas Lapierre to vacate the pit box. That meant Lucas lost out to both Bruno Senna and Lapierre. He caught and passed the Frenchman, but the effort pushed his tyres over the edge, and meant that he was not able to challenge Senna. When Glock finally pitted he came out in front of Lucas, consigning him to third.

"It was good to be on the podium, but it was not as good as I expected. I was thinking that Timo was going in on the same lap, but he didn't. I was just behind him, so I said that's great! I went in, did my pit stop, and when I exited the pit stop Nakajima was holding me up, because Lapierre was stopped in the pits. At this point I lost two places to Bruno and Lapierre. I knew that I had to push a lot to overtake them.

"It was exactly the same as happened in Bahrain. I had to overtake two people, and then you push the rear tyres a lot -- you use a lot of downforce and you overheat the rear tyres. I was catching Bruno, but in the last 15 laps the tyres were very hard to drive. We'll try to change for tomorrow, but the race is shorter."

Overnight Lucas is fourth in the championship on 10 points. He will start the Saturday race from sixth place.

-credit: rdd

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About this article
Series GP2
Drivers Giorgio Pantano , Nicolas Lapierre , Timo Glock , Lucas di Grassi , Bruno Senna , Andreas Zuber , Kazuki Nakajima