ART Grand Prix had a fantastic weekend at the Nurburgring Nico Huelkenberg took the double in front of grandstands packed full of his home fans. After securing a brilliant pole position on Friday, despite cold temperatures and the threat...
ART Grand Prix had a fantastic weekend at the Nurburgring Nico Huelkenberg took the double in front of grandstands packed full of his home fans. After securing a brilliant pole position on Friday, despite cold temperatures and the threat of rain, Nico went on to bring home win number one on Saturday afternoon in dominant fashion, his first ever victory in the GP2 Main series celebrated with a fourteen second margin and the fastest lap. Meanwhile, Sunday's race two saw the German start from eighth place thanks to his win on Saturday and despite the wet and chaotic conditions, he went on to deliver a crushing victory, ahead by 26 and a half seconds at the line, securing fastest lap along the way to make it a perfect weekend all round. As a result, Nico is now in the lead of the driver's classification at the half way point of the 2009 championship.
While Nico flourished at the front, teammate Pastor Maldonado, who qualified in fourth place, failed to finish race one due to an incident in turn 1 when he tangled with Nunes. Starting from the rear of the field meant that race two was always going to be difficult even without the rain, however he raced superbly to work his way up through the field and bring the car home in ninth place.
With Huelkenberg now leading the way in the drivers' championship thanks to his points haul in Germany, ART Grand Prix closed the gap by half to leaders Barwa Addax with the aim of getting even closer in Hungary in two weeks time.
Pastor Maldonado: "I like the Nurburgring and I had two points finishes in 2007 in my first GP2 season. The weekend started well with a good progression in qualifying, which was my weak point at the beginning of the season. I changed my four tyres, because they were used, and this way I hoped to catch up the ground I lost in the first lap. I was a bit optimistic at the baking of turn 1 and I broke a conrod in the collision. Starting from last position the day after, my aim was to gain some experience in difficult conditions and I am rather satisfied to have been able to finish 9th only 6 seconds away from the points. But the Nurburgring was not a good weekend in terms of results and I hope to resume my points scoring run in Hungary."
Nico Hulkenberg: "I could not ask for more from my home race weekend! Pole position, two wins, two fastest laps and now I'm leading the championship. Together with ART Grand Prix we are doing a great job; they're giving me a fantastic car, we're working hand in hand and we're making progress. I was a bit surprised to open up such a gap in the first race and everything seemed a bit too easy but I stayed focused for the second race because I knew with such a good package we could get a decent result. I did not make a very good start but I recovered as soon as at the first turn and then I was able to push when and where I wanted and I overtook several drivers up to the point to make the junction with Petrov. I was saving my tyres at the same time and even without his drive through I think I would have been in a better shape than him. We're the leader now but we have to keep the same attitude, work hard, stay 100% focused and make sure we keep this position for the five next rounds."
Frederic Vasseur: "Nico had the perfect weekend: 20 points out of 20, I think it's only the second time in the GP2 history. His driving and attitude were perfect from the first to the last minute and his progression in a series where he is a rookie is really excellent. Pastor had his best qualifying position so far on a difficult and long track where his driving could make the difference with some other drivers. Unfortunately his first race did not go well and the second one was conditioned by his Saturday result even though he gained 15 positions. It is the first time Pastor did not secure any points and I know he will bounce back in Hungary."