Podiums and bad luck for Arden in Imola Arden continue to lead the GP2 championship with Michael Ammermueller and Nicolas Lapierre making Saturday a day to celebrate, as they finished second and third in the GP2 feature race at Imola. Both men...
Podiums and bad luck for Arden in Imola
Arden continue to lead the GP2 championship with Michael Ammermueller and Nicolas Lapierre making Saturday a day to celebrate, as they finished second and third in the GP2 feature race at Imola. Both men displayed their race craft as they worked their way up from eighth and ninth at a track where passing is notoriously difficult.
Nicolas made an early pit stop, while Michael followed soon afterwards. A safety car helped to bunch up the field, but overall both Arden men didn't do too badly out of it, with Nicolas running ahead of Michael in sixth and seventh at the restart. They gained a few positions and then swapped places when Nicolas went off after rear tyre wear and a sore back combined to make life difficult for him. Right at the end both men made their way onto the podium after second placed Nelson Piquet Jr hit trouble.
After the double podium it was a frustrating Sunday as neither driver scored points. An accident on the startline created a safety car situation almost immediately, and as the pack slowed Michael was involved in a collision with Alex Premat. While he got back to the pits, the damage meant that he could not continue. After the race the stewards decided to penalise him with a drop of 10 grid positions for the next race at the Nurburgring.
Nicolas started from sixth place and ran fourth in the early laps. He later lost a place to Nelson Piquet Jr, and then got stuck behind Timo Glock, despite clearly being quicker. A back problem caused by a trapped nerve that has bothered him all weekend meant that he had to tread a little carefully over he chicane kerbs. After running wide with a couple of laps to go, he dropped to seventh place, just out of the points. Both men are hoping for better luck at the Nurburgring!
Nicolas Lapierre - Saturday: 'The start was good, but then I was blocked and I lost a few positions, so we decided to stop on lap two. Before the safety car I had some good laps, but then I got blocked behind some slower cars, so I lost a bit of time. Michael tried to pass me at the last chicane, and we lost some time there! In the end it was difficult because my back was hurting a lot, and the rear tyres were not very good, because we stopped so early. The car was difficult to drive, and I made a mistake and went wide, and Michael overtook me. We were quite lucky that Piquet had a problem at the end and we both moved up. Considering where we started it's not bad, but I'm disappointed because I let Michael through. I've had a back problem since the beginning of the weekend. In the qualifying it didn't affect me, but in the race, with all these kerbs, it was quite tough.' Sunday: 'I just got caught behind Glock, and I struggled over the chicanes with my back. Then I locked up and went wide. We just need to put everything together on the weekend, and I'm sure it will be all right. I think we finished third in the first race at Nurburgring last year, and Heikki won it. I don't particularly like the track, but it's all right. I need to sort out my back, but Nurburgring is not so hard for the back.'
Michael Ammermueller - Saturday: 'On the first lap I overtook Nicolas, and there was a lot of fighting ahead in the opening laps. The pit stop was not too good because I stopped too much on the left side, and it was difficult for the mechanics. I lost some time and Nicolas passed me again, and then the safety car came out. We ended up more or less in the same positions, just different drivers were in front. I had a fight with Nicolas which was fair, and I overtook some other drivers. I didn't make any big mistakes and I arrived second. It's really easy to make a mistake with these cars, and that's the key to a good result.' Sunday - 'There were yellow flags at the first corner, and I couldn't see because I was behind the other drivers. Then in the exit of the corner all the front guys were braking quite strongly, and I crashed into Premat. Second place yesterday was pretty good, but today also I think we could have done pretty well, because some of the drivers are not so quick. Nurburgring is a home race for me, and I'm looking forward to it, but I have to say I have only raced there once!'