By: Nancy Knapp Schilke
- Grosjean steals Sprint race win
- 3 way final lap fight for 2nd
Grosjean powers to Silverstone race 2 victory
Romain Grosjean did not hesitate to move his DAMS Team car from fifth on the grid to take the win in the GP2 Series Sprint race on Sunday morning at the Silverstone circuit. The Frenchman leaves England with the points lead, along with his 3rd victory of the season. Racing Engineering's Dani Clos finished second followed across the line by Giedo van der Garde for the Barwa Addax Team.
"What a great race! The car was perfect and I want to thank the whole team for the fantastic job they did. I made a good start and then I nursed my tyres for several laps before pushing. It was simply great fun," smiled Grosjean. "We've eked out a small lead in the championship. Now, we'll have to make the break at the Nurburgring."
Grosjean finished 4th in Saturday’s Feature race and due to the top 8 inverted grid slotted 5th for the standing start this morning. He got a bit of help when the lights went out and Stefano Coletti stalled on the front row. Pole winner van der Garde sailed off the line and headed into the first turn with a perfect start while the rest of the field were maneuvering for position whilst avoiding the Coletti’s Trident Racing car. Clos was second as they headed into turn 1 followed by Sam Bird for the iSport team. Grosjean slipped into 4th position followed by Clos’ teammate Christian Vietoris and iSport’s Marcus Ericsson.
The action on the opening lap continued with wheels touching as they battled for the top positions. Clos made his move in the 4th turn, taking the lead away from the Dutch man. The Frenchman saw his opening and moved into 3rd, dropping the Briton to fourth.
“I made a very good start today and found a nice gap. I wanted to attack at the beginning of the race, having a good rhythm. I turn 3 I had a little contact with van der Garde, but I was able to keep my position,” said Clos.
Today’s race was the first time that it was a completely dry track which allowed for faster times and yet, at the same time, they all had to watch their tire wear. Jules Bianchi had made his move to take a place in the top six for the Lotus ART team.
At the midway point, Grosjean started to look for a way to overtake van der Garde who, was not going to make it easy since the two are rivals for not just track position, but for the 2011 championship title also. However, the Frenchman’s DAMS car was dialed in to the perfect setup and he did take the position in the new loop turn at Silverstone on the 14th lap.
While most of the rest of the contenders appeared to remain in the same order, Grosjean set his sights on Clos and the fight between Vietoris and Ericsson grew quiet when the iSport driver not only got past Vietoris but pulled out an immediate gap as he then aimed to overtake his own teammate.
On the 16th lap, Grosjean made his final move for the lead heading into Copse. The Frenchman easily made mincemeat of Clos’ lead and sailed away. While all eyes were on the fight for the eventual victory, van der Garde was inching closer to the duo and would was closing the gap between himself and the top two.
“Towards the end I made a little mistake and locked my wheels. This meant my rhythm dropped a bit and Grosjean was just faster than everyone else today. The second position is something positive for me and the team and we will continue to push and improve every day,” explained Clos.
Grosjean commented, “It wasn't easy today: the race is long, I took a good start and was P3, and I was expecting Dani to struggle at the end of the race, but Giedo I didn't know. I was just waiting, saving my tyres for a long as I could, and then at the end of the race I saw that my pace was very good – the team did a great job – and I could put 2 nice moves in to get the lead, and then I went on for the victory. So it's a very good weekend: looking at the ten place penalty we had on the grid, which was not the best way to start the meetings (laughs), but in the end we got more points than the others so that's the main thing.”
Bianchi found his way past Vietoris and then overtook Bird with just two laps remaining but the main action was in front of the trio when Ericsson saw a possible podium finish as he was on a charge to place his iSport car into the battle for 2nd!
Grosjean easily took the win. Clos did a great job of holding off both van der Garde and Ericsson to place second. Try as he might, Ericsson was unable to land on the podium with the Dutchman holding him off in the final corners of the penultimate lap to take third.
“I think at the start Clos was too aggressive: he hit me in turn 2, I came sideways and he put it in again in turn 3, so for me it was a bit too much. But anyway, racing is like that: I gave him the place, and in the end Romain passed us like we were standing still!” (laughs).
Ericsson had to settle for fourth. Bianchi placed 5th followed by Bird in sixth.
Van der Garde is nine points behind Grosjean in the title chase as the series heads to Nurburgring in Germany after a weekend break in the action. Grosjean has 47 points, van der Garde with 38 and Sam Bird has 32. For the teams, however, Addax retained the lead with 62 points while iSport sits 2nd with a total of 49. The DAMS team has 47 points.
“If we do one weekend very good, we can catch up. He is quick, but we know also that he can become a bit crazy sometimes! (laughs) We just have to wait for that, and in the end I'm happy that we could get more points here, and now we just have to get ready for the Nurburgring,” Van der Garde said.