Zuber Wins, but Hamilton Steals the Show
To many Formula One fans, the 1979 French Grand Prix at Dijon is regarded as one of the finest pieces of racing ever seen. Jean-Pierre Jabouille took the win, but the race is remembered not for his solid drive to first place, but for the battle behind him for second position between Gilles Villeneuve and Rene Arnoux. Today's race, in Istanbul, may well become known as GP2's Dijon. For while Andreas Zuber scored a fantastic maiden series win, it was the astounding drive of Lewis Hamilton, and the epic battles he fought with his rivals, which will live long in the memory of everyone who witnessed it.
Race Report: At the start, polesitter Xandi Negrao was slow off the line, and Andreas launched into a lead he was never to lose, with Xandi second and Adam taking up position in third. Timo was fourth with Lucas di Grassi and Nelson on his tail. On the second lap Lewis, who was sitting just behind Nelson, caught too much th kerb and spun. He recovered but was now placed 16 , well out of the points and, more importantly, miles from his championship rival who had passed Lucas on the same lap to challenge Timo for fourth.
By lap four, the Timo and Nelson battle was now for third as Xandi retired with a broken steering wheel. The order saw Andreas lead Adam, Timo and Nelson, but all eyes were on Lewis. By lap five he was 12 , 11 next time through, then tenth. On lap ten he breezed past Jose Maria Lopez for ninth and Alex Premat, just as he had promised to do yesterday, waved his team-mate through for eighth position. Next on Lewis' radar was Sergio Hernandez who was dismissed with consummate ease on lap 12, one lap before the Briton set another fastest lap, overtaking Nicolas Lapierre in the process for sixth and the final point. Incredibly, next time through, Lewis had passed Lucas for fifth.
Lewis was onto Nelson by lap 16, and flew past in his usual hunting ground of the final sequence of corners. It wasn't quite the battle that had been hoped for, but as Lewis attempted to pass Timo, the fireworks began. The pair ran side by side, edging each other within milimetres, corner after corner, as Nelson hung onto the back and ducked back ahead of Lewis at the start of lap 18. By the end of the lap though, Lewis had taken fourth place back. They stayed together lap after lap, and on lap 20 Lewis and Timo were now side by side again. Gaining the run on him down the straight on lap 21 Lewis made it stick and was off after Adam.
He pulled him in at a rate of knots and on the final lap, from out of nowhere, Lewis braked late... so late he was almost in the overflow carpark at the circuit entrance. And somehow he made it through. Andreas screamed across the line to the delight of his crew, as Lewis flew home in second, punching the sky following one of the greatest drives ever seen in the GP2 series, with Adam a disappointed third. Timo ran home fourth with Nelson fifth and Nicolas sixth. Lewis took the final point for fastest lap.
What about the championship? Lewis now leads on 101 points with Nelson second on 91. The ten point gap means that the championship will be decided in Monza in two weeks time. Alex is third on 62 with Timo fourth on 58. Their fight for third will also be decided at the final race. Champions ART Grand Prix now hold 163 points to Piquet Sports' 104, with iSport well in the hunt for second on 101.
1 Andreas Zuber Trident Racing.37:54.990
This is like my second birthday, really! I had a great start, made a mistake in the third lap, had some pressure in the beginning, but in the end Lewis overtook Adam. I'm very happy with the win!
2 Lewis Hamilton ART Grand Prix. +2.938
I just put my heart and soul into that race. It's just all hope, you keep it inside you and push to the end. I never give up... never. That's been my motto since I was very young. And today it served me well.
3 Adam Carroll Racing Engineering. +3.826
I'm disappointed, as it's hard when someone comes and overtakes you like that. We've been here before and it seems like every time we have a chance of winning it just doesn't go our way.