Lotus GP driver Esteban Gutiérrez chalked up another victory for the teams 2012 GP2 Championship campaign with a first place finish and fastest race lap in nothing short of changeable conditions at the Silverstone circuit in Britain this weekend. This was the teams third win of the season and cemented their place at the top of the leaderboard.
With rain playing a major role in a chaotic free practice session, the circuit was wet and the rain never too far away for the all-important qualifying session a few hours later. Slotting in fifth, Esteban Gutierrez and sixth, James Calado, race one was always going to be a challenge. However, true to form, Esteban delivered a fine performance to secure his second feature victory of 2012, despite the rain sodden track throwing up every possible challenge in his path.
The race started behind the safety car and the Mexican driver was the first to change tyres on lap 15, teammate James Calado following suit. However, while Estaban raced onto victory aided by the fact that the leader failed to take his mandatory pit stop, James stopped on track shortly after his stop with a technical failure. The action packed race two almost resulted in another podium for the Mexican driver however, the final push at the end of the race saw a minor incident when Johnny Cecotto forced him wide and off track while Esteban was putting a brilliant overtaking manoeuvre on him. The two collided and Esteban was left to cross the line in fourth place.
Teammate James Calado was forced to start from the back of the grid due to his failure in race one, however despite a strong run and lots of positive overtaking manoeuvres, he finished twentieth overall after losing positions at the end. Both Esteban and James were penalized following this round, due to contact with other drivers, and will each lose ten places on the grid in the next event at Hockenheim in two weeks time. Esteban Gutiérrez now sits third in the drivers championship on 122 points, while James Calado is equal fourth on 95. Lotus GP have stretched their lead in the teams championship to 217, 12 ahead of their nearest challenger.
Esteban Gutierrez: This second win, a fortnight after Valencia, was very special because of the conditions. To start behind the safety car and to clean the line a bit was a good thing because there was lots of aquaplaning in the beginning. Step by step, I got to grips with the track and pushed harder and harder. We pitted early and that was the key because I gained several positions and when the safety car came back we knew the leader, Fabio Leimer, had not pitted. From then on, I made sure that I didnt make any mistakes but I pushed a bit to clock the fastest lap of the race and get the points that come with it. We came close to climbing on the podium on Sunday, I fought tooth and nail but it did not work our way. I tried to overtake Johnny Cecotto on the outside of Stowe on the final lap but he did not give me enough room and I went over the kerb. Coming back on track, my tyres were dirty and I lost a bit the control of the car and hit Cecotto. P4 is a great reward for the team and Im happy to leave Silverstone third in the championship.
James Calado: The car was good, so was I and we could fight for pole. I was third before the session was red flagged and after that I could not better my lap time. But 6th was not so bad, especially with tricky conditions where qualifying does not count as much as on another track. I was comfortable in fifth place, fighting with Esteban who later won the race which gives an idea of what we could have achieved. I had a technical failure that caused the gearbox to fail itself. The outcome of the first race was hard to take after the missed opportunity in Valencia where the win was on the cards. Im pretty sure I would have been on the podium without the technical glitches. Sundays race was always going to be a tough fight starting from the last row and I enjoyed myself a lot, I overtook a lot of cars and came close to securing a point. Frederic Vasseur: It is our third victory of the season, the second in a row in a feature race and it is a huge satisfaction. Unfortunately it was marred by technical problem for James that probably deprived him of a fifth podium, something that would have been a remarkable achievement for a beginner. Esteban and James were very fast and performed very highly in what can only be called stressful conditions. We must accept the penalties and the lessons for the future.
Source: Lotus GP