The strong competition experienced in Magny-Cours did not allow ART Grand Prix to secure victory in front of their home fans, however the performances of Alexandre Premat and Lewis Hamilton were once again reason to bring satisfaction to the...
The strong competition experienced in Magny-Cours did not allow ART Grand Prix to secure victory in front of their home fans, however the performances of Alexandre Premat and Lewis Hamilton were once again reason to bring satisfaction to the entire team, who eventually left Nièvre with two podiums and a comfortable lead in the team championship.
With 70 points, Lewis is still a solid leader in the drivers classification, while Alex consolidated his 3rd place and edged closer to Nelsinho Piquet, thanks to one weekend that saw him collecting the most points of the 26 drivers in the championship. Between the two, Alex and Lewis overtook 41 cars between the two races, proof of their determination and competitiveness.
Qualified on the fourth row, Lewis had to make an unexpected pitstop at the end of the first lap in the opening race so that he could have the nose changed of his Dallara that was damaged in a collision with Adam Carroll at turn five. Setting out again way down the order, the championship leader of the GP2 series ended up down in 19th place with the fastest lap of the race to his credit.
As for Alex, he managed his race perfectly to end up on the second step of the podium in the opening round. For race two it was time for the ART GP drivers to put on a show for the French public. On the inside of the 4th row of the grid, Alex made an excellent start, but was unable to benefit from it for very long and Piquet pushed him into the gravel at the first turn. Getting back on track, he was down in 14th place, but the Frenchman delivered one of the best races of his career to end up on the third step of the podium. Meanwhile, Lewis worked his way up from 19th to fifth after another impressive drive.
The feeling is somewhat diminished as Lewis and Alex made such a diabolic demonstration in the second race, and we leave Magny-Cours without a victory in our pocket. The positive thing from this is that our potential was of a high level, and this will only enable us to enjoy further victories very soon. Alex did well in regard to the championship and this is one of the happy results of this weekend.
We improved the car from the practice session and it helped for the qualifying session. I was held up during my quickest lap though, which is too bad because we would have been second. In race 1 I did not get the best start, but it was not too bad either. I then made a slight mistake and hit Adam Carroll at turn 5. My front wing was broken and I had to come back to the pits to change it. At the end of the race the tyres were dead and it was not easy to keep the car on track. As for race 2, I came a long way to get 5th place. I think this is not a bad job, but it's too bad we could not secure a win this weekend, even though Alex did a great job. So did the team.
It was a fantastic race weekend overall, even if we had the potential to win and we did not reach that point. I didn't get the qualifying result I wanted, but I made an excellent start which enabled me to gain 3 places very quickly. Once again the team carried out a pit perfect stop thanks to some remarkable work from the mechanics. Once I made my way into 2nd place my tyres were very worn and I made sure I managed a good result while thinking of the second race. On Sunday I made another good start, but unfortunately there was a coming together with Piquet on the outside, he touched me and sent me off track. I quickly returned at Estoril, very far down the classification. There was nothing more I could do apart from fight all the way to the end.