Close but not close enough in Hockenheim Nicolas Lapierre and Michael Ammermueller both had the frustrating experience of finishing one place outside the points after a character- building weekend for the Arden boys at Hockenheim. Nicolas had...
Close but not close enough in Hockenheim
Nicolas Lapierre and Michael Ammermueller both had the frustrating experience of finishing one place outside the points after a character- building weekend for the Arden boys at Hockenheim.
Nicolas had no fitness problems on his comeback from injury, but equally had no luck on Saturday. After earning a respectable midfield grid position he stalled at the start and lost a lap before he could get going again. He was at least able to test his fitness by running a race distance, eventually finishing 20th.
From 19th on the grid Michael made a good start and made good progress up the order, helped by a late pit stop that saw him briefly get as high as second before he came in. After that he dropped to ninth. He was bumped down one place as his tyres tyre performance went off and then gained ninth back when Piquet retired on the last lap. Not only did he just miss out on a point, but he had to start the Sunday sprint from ninth instead of the pole that eighth would have earned him!
Nicolas started well down the field on Sunday. But he got off the line well and made all the right moves, taking advantage of trouble ahead and making some good passes. Frustratingly he finished just outside the points, and was right on the tail of the drivers that finished fifth and sixth, Giorgio Pantano and Saturday race winner Gianmaria Bruni. On the way he passed Michael, who was running strongly until an engine problem slowed him and eventually forced him to come into the pits to retire after completing 20 of the 27 laps.
Both drivers are looking forward to the next race in Hungary, and they only have to wait until this Friday before action gets underway again.
Nicolas Lapierre - Saturday: 'I don't know what happened at the start. I just did my normal thing, and it stalled - maybe because of the heat. We're going to look at the data and see what happened. They pushed me into the pits and I started a lap down. After that I had a very good race. We were expecting some rain and were trying to do a fastest lap at the end so we pitted for tyres very late. I'm disappointed, but I'm happy that I could drive all the distance, even if it was a bit hard at the end. It was a bit tough, but I expected that because I haven't been driving for two months.' Sunday: 'For my comeback race its not been too bad. Obviously the problem yesterday costs us quite a lot, and this one was just to come back to get ready for Budapest. I made a good start, and then I had some good overtaking movesopportunities. It's good to have a race like that, to come back and fight again. The team did quite a good job this weekend and we were faster in the second race than the first one, so I think we're making some progress. I think we had a good pace in the race and we're going to work hard to improve qualifying in Hungary. We have some good ideas for that, and if we get that sorted resolved then we will be at the front, I think.'
Michael Ammermueller - Saturday: 'I had a very good start and a good first lap, and I think the speed was not so bad during the race. But then in the pit stop we lost a little bit of time I think, and in the last 10 laps I didn't have any front tyrestyre wear! I couldn't go through the high-speed corners properly. Ninth is the worst position you can have! It's not nice to have so much bad luck.' Sunday: 'I had some problems with the fuel pressure, and I didn't have power. At the beginning it was just on the long straight, and then it was everywhere, so I stopped. I think the car was quite good, we were on the same speed as the drivers at the front. Today we were not so far away from the points, but you can't do anything. I've never been to Hungary, so I don't know how it will be - but I hope better than here!'