Fifth for di Grassi in Turkey
Lucas di Grassi enjoyed his best GP2 result of the year when he finished a strong fifth in Saturday's race in Turkey. The race ended a run of bad luck for the Renault Driver Development squad member, who has been hampered by reliability problems and sheer bad luck for much of the season.Di Grassi started from seventh place. He went for a strategy of staying out as long as possible before making his compulsory pit stop, in order to make best use of the tyres. He gained a place on the first lap and rose to second by lap 15, after most of his rivals had made their stops. He retained that place until coming in on lap 20, by which time he'd gained enough ground to guarantee himself fifth place. He will start the Sunday sprint race from fourth.Meanwhile it was a frustrating afternoon for Jose Maria Lopez.
The Super Nova driver again showed great speed in qualifying and started second, but fell down to fifth after a busy first lap. He came into the pits on lap 6, but the stop went badly after the team decided to change four rather than the usual two tyres. He lost around 15-16 seconds and tumbled down the order. He still managed to recover to an eventual ninth place, which meant he just missed out on both points and the chance to start from pole on Sunday.
Lucas di Grassi: 'In terms of points and result it's my best race of the year. The car was not perfect, but the traction was good. We couldn't afford to change the four tyres at the stop, because it was too risky for me. I had too much understeer and there was too much graining on the front tyres. But pitting late worked quite well, as we tried to keep the same tyres for as long as possible, because then they grain together, and you don't have the change with a fresher tyre. I was pretty quick at the time I changed, and I went slower at first with the new tyres, until they were scrubbed. It was a good race, and there is nothing I can really complain about. I've always said we have a car to finish in the top eight every time, but the problem has been the reliability, the pit stops, and the strategy. This time everything happened normally, and we got four points.'
Jose Maria Lopez: "I didn't get a good start, but it looked like Premat jumped it, he was so quick! So then I was in fifth, struggling a lot with the front of the car. The car wasn't working as well as we expected after I made a change yesterday, so I had a lot of understeer. My front tyres had some graining, and it was getting worse. I was telling the team on the radio to change the front tyres, but the said they wanted to change the rears. They weren't really ready, and they changed the rears and then they decided to change the fronts, so I lost a lot of time. I hope I can get into the points tomorrow from ninth.'