Di Grassi Takes First Win and Championship Lead Lucas di Grassi has taken his first GP2 Series victory this afternoon in Istanbul with a faultless drive from sixth on the grid, with Giorgio Pantano and Adam Carroll finishing in the final podium...
Di Grassi Takes First Win and Championship Lead
Lucas di Grassi has taken his first GP2 Series victory this afternoon in Istanbul with a faultless drive from sixth on the grid, with Giorgio Pantano and Adam Carroll finishing in the final podium positions. The Brazilian's win, coupled with Timo Glock's fourth place sees Lucas take the championship lead for the first time in 2007 with just five races remaining.
Race Report: A great start from Andi Zuber from third on the grid saw the iSport International driver tear past poleman Luca Filippi and second place starter Timo into the first corner. Behind them, Mike Conway spun, taking out Andy Soucek and Adrian Zaugg in the process and calling out the safety car. As the drivers made their way through the first lap, Luca spun into retirement, leaving Andi and Timo at the front with the fast starting Lucas third.
As soon as they were able, the field poured into the pits to make their compulsory stops. Only four drivers stayed out - Timo, the Minardi Piquet Sports duo of Xandi Negrao and Roldan Rodriguez, and Trident's Ricardo Risatti. Behind Ricardo then sat Andi, Lucas and Adam, and when the safety car pulled in on lap five Timo set about building up a lead that would allow him the possibility of making his stop in real time without losing too many places.
The real fight for the lead however was being waged behind between Andi, Lucas, Adam and Giorgio. As Ricardo fell back through the pack, Andi was looking for a way past third placed Roldan. The pair were never split by more than a second and for almost 20 laps the iSport man could not find a way through. Then, on lap 22, Andi made his move and got it horribly wrong. Mounting the grass run off, he had no traction, and careered off and into the gravel at Turn 12. An almost certain win was thrown away in a heartbeat and Andi was clearly angry with himself.
All that left Lucas in the de-facto lead. As first Xandi and the Roldan came into the pits, we were left with the championship top two in the first two places. But Timo's stop had yet to be taken, and despite a brace of fastest laps, the German just couldn't pull out a sufficient gap. When he finally came in on Lap 30, Lucas took the lead and never looked back.
Behind him however, Giorgio and Adam were going hell for leather, with the Italian finally making it through at the first corner on Lap 32, just two laps from the chequered flag. Timo had emerged in fourth place from his pitstop and by the final lap had also caught up to a now clearly struggling Adam. The pair fought through the final corners but Adam held on for the final podium place ahead of Timo, Borja Garcia, Kazuki Nakajima, Xandi and Karun Chandhok who took the final point for eighth and pole for tomorrow's race. Nicolas Lapierre took the point for fastest lap.
1st Lucas di Grassi: ART Grand Prix. 57:11.277 I think the race win came in the right moment. Its awesome to get the championship lead by winning the race, also a feature race, a Saturday race which is long. When you pit in the beginning the race feels very long. The car felt really good and I could manage to keep a good gap from Adam and Giorgio and I am very happy, very satisfied with the win.
2nd Giorgio Pantano: Campos Grand Prix. +1.371 I was just respecting Adam because he is my friend, otherwise I would try to overtake him in some not good place. But he was quick until ten or 12 laps to the end and I was allowed to stay close to him to overtake at the end of the straight. I think from the beginning of the championship we have shown what we can do but were just unlucky, shall we say.
3rd Adam Carroll: Petrol Ofisi FMS International. +5.830 When the safety car came out that was exactly what we didn't plan on: we thought because of the run off area here there wouldn't be a safety car. When everybody came in the safe thing to do is to go with two tyres just to make the time up. After that the balance was very, very difficult. I could see Giorgio was closing but the tyres were finished at the end so there was nothing I could do.