With just three weekends to go before the end of the 2006 GPO2 championship, ART Grand Prix reinforced its position in both the drivers and team championships. However, Hockenheim was not the best race of the season for the team, who despite ...
With just three weekends to go before the end of the 2006 GPO2 championship, ART Grand Prix reinforced its position in both the drivers and team championships.
However, Hockenheim was not the best race of the season for the team, who despite leaving Germany with two more podium finishes from Lewis Hamilton to their credit, failed to take victory. There was also immense disappointment for Alexandre Premat, whose race was ruined by an electric sensor.
Both Lewis and Alex knew the weekend was not over despite qualifying in eighth and tenth places on the grid respectively, knowing that they were both in with a good chance as they have proved on several occasions already this year that they are more than capable of working their way up though the field.
Lewis proved it yet again when he made it to the 2nd step of the rostrum, however Alex was struck down by a mechanical problem which forced him in for an unscheduled return to the pits. Recording the best lap of the race, proof that he had the speed at Hockenheim, the Frenchman finished race one down in 19th place, which basically ruined his chances of a good finish in race two on Sunday.
Starting seventh on the grid in the second race, Lewis displayed further aggressiveness and prudence to ensure another podium finish that enabled him to increase his lead in the championship.
Inevitably my feelings are somewhat two fold. Lewis now has a good lead in the championship, with two solid races and two podium finishes, but Alex's weekend was wasted due to a fault with a sensor. He recorded the best lap of the race all the same and once again took a point from Piquet.
Overall they made good moves in regard to the championship, but Alex deserved better.
The disappointment is immense because even if our qualifying was not the best of the year, we were not overall anxious in regard to the race but some to be able to go up with the outposts. An electric crankshaft sensor cut off for me just 5 laps into the first race making me return to the pits to fix the problem and ruining my weekend. It is annoying that such a small mechanical hiccup like this can destroy all your efforts. After finishing way down in the first race, I could not hope for a lot in the second.
I went on maximum attack, all or nothing. It was a small consolation to finish as the fastest this weekend, but it proves I was the quickest in the first race and therefore enabled me to take a point from Piquet. Without this defective sensor things would have been different: I could easily have finished 4th on Saturday, and have been well placed on the grid for Sunday.
The car was great, and even though it did not go that well in qualifying, we needed the points for both championships and we got them. It couldn't get better in race 1 starting from 8th and finishing 2nd. Race 2 was fun with several nice battles and another podium in the end. The team did a fantastic job as usual, a big thank to all its members.