Stefano Coletti sprints to Budapest win
Trident driver triumphed today on a wet/dry/wet sprint race at Hungaroring
Stefano Coletti overcame a difficult start of a Hungarian weekend by stunning the rest of the field from P21 on the grid to victory in changing track conditions and two safety car periods. The Monegasque driver finished 7.2s ahead of Esteban Gutierrez and Romain Grosjean.
The teams once again had a difficult choice to make this morning for the Sprint race in Budapest: in mixed track conditions, it was all about deciding to start either on wet tyres or slicks. Only seven drivers bravely opted for the second option, including Luca Filippi, Coletti and Gutierrez, the young Mexican starting from P24.
As the lights went out, the early stages were all about poleman Christian Vietoris. The German had a perfect start and kept the lead. Behind him, Addax duo Giedo van der Garde and Charles Pic both opted to duck down the inside of Turn 1 to pass Jules Bianchi. Filippi’s tyre gamble proved difficult as he ran wide at Turn 1 and dropped to the back of the field.
While Vietoris was pulling away quickly, Bianchi now in fourth was busy trying to keep Grosjean at bay, but he ran a bit too wide at turn 1 on lap 2, letting the Dams driver through. The Series leader then caught up fast with Pic. Out in front, Vietoris had already managed to build up a 8s gap on van der Garde, the Dutchman unable to match the German’s pace.
On a drying track, from lap 7 some drivers chose to come back into the pits for slick tyres, and a lap later, Pic who was struggling to defend his position from Grosjean decided to come in and change rubber. The Safety Car soon came out after Max Chilton stopped on the track. Vietoris, van der Garde, Grosjean and Bianchi took this opportunity to switch to slicks and kept their positions.
At the re-start, Vietoris kept in control of the rest of the pack. Grosjean was all over van der Garde and tried to pass him on the inside of turn 1. Both ran too wide, but the Dams driver got through the Addax man. Bianchi was hot on van der Garde’s trails and both collided at turn 4, sending the Lotus ART man off track. He rejoined at the back of the field.
Behind, Coletti was already in P6 behind the battling duo of Luiz Razia and Sam Bird. When the two men in front of him made a small mistake while fighting, the Monegasque driver passed both cars. He then quickly overtook a slower van der Garde for a podium finish.
The rain started to fall again and Bianchi immediately decided to come in for wet tyres. At the front, Grosjean reduced the gap with Vietoris to less than a second, putting great pressure on the German. The Racing Engineering man made a small mistake and spun. Grosjean lost some time trying to avoid him allowing Coletti to take the lead. The Safety Car came out again after Dani Clos stopped on the track. Coletti and Grosjean chose to come into the pits for wet tyres. They rejoined behind Pic.
At the re-start, the Addax driver who was still on slicks found it very difficult to stay on line and was soon running too wide at turn 1 allowing Coletti to get passed. The Trident man was never to be seen again as he pulled away to victory.
The final laps were all about the fight between Grosjean and a charging Gutierrez whose tyre strategy paid off to come back from P24 on the grid. The young Mexican was all over the Dams driver and eventually overtook him in the last corner to take P2. Van der Garde, Bird and Bianchi took the remaining points.
Heading to Spa-Francorchamps, Grosjean has extended his lead in the drivers’ standings to 74 points from van der Garde on 49, with Pic on 42 points. Bianchi has moved up to fourth on 35 points, the same as Bird.
By: GP2 Series