ART Grand Prix left the Hockenheim circuit with another podium finish to their 2008 tally, but unfortunately it was on the second step not the top, with Romain Grosjean handed a penalty after winning a wet and chaotic race one for overtaking a backmarker under yellow flag conditions with just three laps to go. This meant that the Frenchman started race two from seventh place and after a strong race he ended up fourth after being pushed off the track at the start and recovering well despite racing with a badly damaged car, from P10 to secure precious points for himself and the team. He is now third overall in the drivers standings.
Meanwhile, new teammate Sakon Yamamoto Sakon, who had a lot to learn with his new team, adapted brilliantly. He was only able to complete 6 practice laps due to a clutch problem, but despite this his progress was stunning throughout the weekend with laptimes matching the best when he was on used rubber at the end of race two. Unfortunately he was hit at the start of race 2 but resumed his race 7 laps later after the team fixed the car to give him the opportunity to gain more experience.
Sakon Yamamoto "I know the Hockenheimring quite well because I raced there a several times in F3 then in F1 with Super Aguri. Therefore I was confident despite the fact that I had to learn so much with my new team! Free practice was dedicated to defining my driving position and to check all the on board systems. We worked very hard on Romain's data between free practice and qualifying in order to find out where I could find some time. The team helped me a lot in this task as well as for my adaptation and I thank them for this. I could start finding the limit of the car and then push in race. It is not satisfying result-wise but the team congratulated me for my lap times and for my progress all weekend long. I know the Hungaroring, now I know the car and the team and there will be one aim in Hungary: to score some points."
Race 1 Position on grid: 12th Result: 12th
Race 2 Position on grid: 12th Result: Not classified
Position in the championship: 0 point
Romain Grosjean "I know the Hockenheim track rather well and I got to grips quickly in free practice. We missed out a little on securing pole position but Giorgio did the perfect lap with the perfect car and we could not match that. I managed race 1 and the tyre use quite well and I was ready to secure 2nd place with 10 laps to go. But then it rained hard and that's my favourite conditions. I saw that Giorgio had traction problems and he made several mistakes. I could easily overtake him. I regret my mistake under yellows in the very last stage but the podium was very good for the team. Parente pushed me off track towards pit wall at the start of race 2 and instead of fighting for victory I was P10! Coming back into the points in these conditions was therefore satisfying. It's been a while that we did not score that many points, so we showed we can fight for pole position and for wins and that is important for everyone."
Race 1 Position on grid: 2nd Result: 2nd
Race 2 Position on grid: 7th Result: 4th
Position in championship: 3rd , 34 points
Frederic Vasseur "Sakon was nothing less than wonderful with his adaptation to the team despite having such a big task ahead of him on Friday morning. A few hesitations at race starts aside, he's been very competitive and overtook Maldonado, d'Ambrosio and Filippi in the race; he also clocked very fast lap times with used tyres at the end of race 2. Romain's performance was exceptional under the wet conditions and he was brilliant on Sunday with a badly damaged car on the left side after Parente pushed him over into the wall at the start. All in all the review of the weekend is very positive: we have re-found a very good team spirit and secured good results. Our performance level was very good and now we just have to win races."