GP2

Hockenheimring: Series race one report

Grosjean singing in the rain Frenchman steals win in late downpour. Romain Grosjean took a last gasp win after following championship rival Giorgio Pantano for most of the race when a late storm upset the series ...

Grosjean singing in the rain

Frenchman steals win in late downpour.

Romain Grosjean took a last gasp win after following championship rival Giorgio Pantano for most of the race when a late storm upset the series leader's rhythm over the closing laps, allowing the Frenchman to nip past for victory.

With mayhem behind them the pair had a long wait to see would join them on the podium: Alvaro Parente held his nerve ahead of the chasing pack to claim a long overdue bottle of champagne as he joined them on the third step.

The start of the race took place under blue skies, with Pantano and Grosjean getting away well from the grid while Andreas Zuber's slow start bunched up their pursuers into the first turn: Sebastien Buemi, Lucas di Grassi, Bruno Senna and Javier Villa were soon squabbling among themselves for the remaining podium position, but a string of fastest laps shared evenly between them mean Pantano and Grosjean were able to easily despatch the rest of the field and concentrate on a race long battle for the lead.

There were plenty of other fights all through the field as the race developed: Buemi, di Grassi and Senna were scrapping constantly for third, with Senna eventually out-dragging his countryman down the long back straight and then putting himself in the Swiss driver's wheel tracks, while behind them Karun Chandhok and Villa were equally determined to outdo each other, but with seven laps to go everything changed.

The rain came seemingly out of nowhere, dumping down on the circuit with awesome force and handing the pitlane an awful dilemma: keep their drivers out and hope that they can hold on, or bring them in for wet tyres and lose positions. The leading pair couldn't come in, so intense was their on-track battle, while behind car after car was spinning or spearing off into the barriers no matter which set of tyres they had.

With five laps to go Grosjean took his chance and tiptoed by as Pantano tried desperately to hold to no avail: behind them Villa looked like he had done enough after Buemi fell off track to hold on for third but found the wall on dry tyres on the final lap, while Senna (who changed to wets) was still sliding all over the circuit as he fought to contain Zuber, who slid into the wall next to the Spaniard.

The result wasn't clear until the chequered flag, when Parente crossed the line for third with Senna, di Grassi, Pastor Maldonado, Andy Soucek and Karun Chandhok finishing nose to tail behind the Portuguese driver. While Pantano was despondent at having lost a win that he had thought was in the bag, his second place and fastest lap meant that he extended his lead to 61 points ahead of Senna on 44, while Grosjean moves up to 33 points ahead of di Grassi on 28 and Buemi and Parente on 25.

-credit: gp2series.com

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Series GP2