By: Nancy Knapp Schilke
- Grosjean has a bit of luck
- Ericsson loses win with penalty
- Pic puts on late charge
GP2 points leader Romain Grosjean takes 5th win of the season at Hungaroring
DAMS Team’s French ace extended his points lead in the GP2 Series with another victory today. Romain Grosjean did have a bit of luck in the Feature Race at the Hungaroring circuit in Budapest when his rival lost the race to a penalty. It was his fifth win of the main series season as he continues to showcase his talent in front of the Formula One teams and the fans. Charles Pic turned in hot laps but still came up short, finishing second. Third went to the first-time pole winner Luiz Razia.
"It's super! The team did a great job. I knew the car was very quick, and I was also able to gain a place thanks to the pit stop. I'm really happy," smiled Grosjean. "We've got a good lead in the championship, and I'll do my best to consolidate it tomorrow before the August holiday break."
It was another race to remember in the main ladder series for the young drivers who hope to make it to the premier open-wheel series. From the start to the final laps, the battle was fought. For Marcus Ericsson, it is a race to forget as a drive-thru penalty late in the race cost him the victory.
While the DAMS team and their driver celebrated, all Ericsson could do was watch in dismay. The iSport International driver from Sweden took the early lead when the lights went out with a start that was perfect as he passed Razia even before they were at the first turn. From that point on, he was untouchable but on lap 16 during his pit stop, Ericsson was given the go-ahead to exit his pit stop at the same time that Razia was coming down pit lane. The stewards replayed the scene and determined that the iSport team was at fault. The drive thru penalty by Ericsson happened on lap 24 and moved the early race leader into sixth place where Ericsson remained until the final laps.
On lap 15, Grosjean made his pitstop and second place – at the time – was still Razia. The strategy by the DAMS team paid off when the Frenchman was first on track as the Brazilian re-entered from the pit lane. Of course the Team AirAsia driver was delayed by Ericsson.
While the penalty that Ericsson incurred and the delay that cost Razia in the pit lane was a tough way to lose a race for either driver, it did benefit the Frenchman, who even with pressure from Pic and Razia, kept his cool and scored the victory.
Grosjean commented about what went wrong for Ericsson: "I think you have to do everything right in order to take the win. That’s the team’s fault I think for an unsafe release. But again, the sooner you release a driver, it can make a difference on track and you can pass other drivers so... I’m sorry for Marcus who was doing a good race but this is a good result for me and Dams. We did the job today."
Both Pic and Razia put on a good show as they attempted to take the win away from Grosjean. Pic had earlier battled his countryman for third place at the start of the race but the Barwa Addax Team driver fell short and slotted fourth followed by his teammate Giedo van der Garde. It was with fresh tires that allowed Pic to go after the win as he clocked off one hot lap after the other but feel short at the end.
"It’s a good result for us. On the first stint I was slower than Romain and I think this is very we lost the race. We still have to work on that. On the second stint, the car was very good and even better during the last five laps. Second place is still a good result. We still have to push and tomorrow to try and take a good start in order to take some more points," said Pic.
For Razia, it was heartbreak when he could not smoothly exit the pit lane but the Brazilian was able to recover from the incident to take the final podium step. He did have a bit of help as Luca Filippi was struggling with tire wear in his Scuderia Coloni car after making an early pit stop on lap 12. The Italian dropped from second position to sixth by the end of the race. Benefiting from Filippi’s backward slide in the finish order was Van der Garde in fourth while Ericsson also got by Filippi in the end to place fifth.
"The tyres were great. I was behind Pic trying to push him a bit. I saw with five laps to go that Filippi was really struggling. Pic passed him and it took me a lap to pass him myself. It took quite a long time. At the end of the day, I finished third. Had we started third and finished third, we would have been happy. I think it was great to take pole for the first time and to finish P3 is good. But we made the wrong call on the pitstop obviously," explained Razia.
Lotus ART’s Jules Bianchi ended seventh followed by Christian Vietoris for the Racing Engineering team. The two had a hard fought battle for position and will start on the front row in Sunday’s Sprint Race. However the pole slot will be held by the German due to the top eight reverse order for the grid.
See Race 1 Results