Pit delay costs Lopez win in Magny-Cours A delay in the pits cost Jose Maria Lopez a potential win in Magny-Cours after he had led in impressive style from pole. The Renault Driver Development squad member recovered to third place after some...
Pit delay costs Lopez win in Magny-Cours
A delay in the pits cost Jose Maria Lopez a potential win in Magny-Cours after he had led in impressive style from pole.
The Renault Driver Development squad member recovered to third place after some great passing moves. It was a good day too for Lucas di Grassi, who also led the race and eventually earned some points with seventh.
After going well in the recent mid-season test at Paul Ricard Jose was on great form in the Super Nova car, and secured an encouraging pole. He made a good start and led for the first 10 laps before making his compulsory pit stop. Unfortunately the team had problems changing one of the rear wheels, and by the time he resumed, he had tumbled down to eighth.
A couple of cars had not yet stopped, so he regained those places, but he lost a lot of time behind Giorgio Pantano. He eventually found a way past at the complex at the end of the lap. That put him fourth, and he then moved up to third with a great move on Nelson Piquet at the same part of the track.
Lucas started 11th with the Durango car, and adopted a strategy of staying out for as long as possible. By lap 16 he was in the lead, and he stayed there until finally coming in on the 22nd of the 41 laps. He did not have a perfect stop and emerged in seventh, where he stayed to the flag. The good news is that he will start the Sunday sprint race from the front row.
Jose Maria Lopez:
'I'm very happy, and I'm not blaming anyone. For sure there was a mistake in the pits, and we have to try not to do it again. The car was good, and it's a very good feeling to be back the way I used to be, leading races! We had the pace to win, and we showed everybody. In Silverstone we had a terrible race, we qualified 18th and were two seconds off the pace. We went to Paul Ricard, and we knew we had to improve the car. It seems that the team did a very good job. Everybody was saying Lopez is only quick at Paul Ricard, but to come here and be the quickest and do the race we had today is a very good feeling. So I can't complain about finishing third. I was saving my front tyres, and when we came in we had a problem with the left rear tyre, and a few people passed me. I caught up Pantano and he was very fair with me. I kept trying and trying and when the right moment arrived I passed him, and I started to pull away quickly. Then I caught Piquet and passed him. I have to say he was very clean with me, and I could have touched him as well. But the others were too far ahead, and there were only four laps to go. I know I can pass people so tomorrow should be a good race too. I'll try to have fun!'
Lucas di Grassi:
'It was the first time I led a GP2 race, and hopefully there will be more times! We lost a couple of places in qualifying because I did only one lap, but in the end it was OK. I finished seventh, and it was the first race where we didn't really have any problems. We stopped late because we only had older tyres for after the pit stop, so I had to stay with the tyres for a very long period. It wasn't ideal, but it's what we had to do. The pit stop wasn't great and I lost a bit of time, which was a shame. On Sunday I start from the front row. There are no pit stops and it's hard to overtake here. I expect to have a good car.'