Kovalainen wins epic encounter at the NÃ¼rburgring Heikki Kovalainen overcame a grid penalty to win today's GP2 series race from 17th position thanks to another strong strategy from his Arden International team, and faultless racing from...
Kovalainen wins epic encounter at the Nürburgring
Heikki Kovalainen overcame a grid penalty to win today's GP2 series race from 17th position thanks to another strong strategy from his Arden International team, and faultless racing from the Finn himself. He was followed home by pole-sitter Giorgio Pantano, with Nico Rosberg recovering from starting almost last to take third.
The race began with two aborted starts when five drivers, who admitted to still not being familiar enough with the sensitivity of the car's clutch, stalled on the grid. When the lights went out, a five car pile-up at Turn 1 signalled the end of Monaco-winner Adam Carroll's afternoon, along with those of Borja Garcia, Olivier Pla, Xandi Negrão and Ferdinando Monfardini.
Only two other drivers retired Ernesto Viso with a faulty wheel nut, and Juan Cruz Alvarez who spun out of ninth place under his own steam. All this left 33 laps of nail-biting action. With overtaking manoeuvres attempted the length of the field on almost every lap, the order changed relentlessly. And when all the pit stops panned out, it was the lowly starting Heikki Kovalainen who led from Pantano and Rosberg. Alexandre Prémat ran home shortly behind him after a superb drive from 22nd to fourth. The top eight was rounded out by Piquet, Jani, Piccione (who picked up Durango's first points of 2005) and Bruni.
Heikki therefore leads the drivers' championship on 38 points, 11 ahead of both Bruni and Speed, who picked up two valuable points for fastest lap. Carroll is fourth on 23, with Rosberg fifth on 18 and Lopez sixth on 17. In the teams' battle, Arden International leads on 42, with Super Nova International in the hunt on 33. Coloni and ART Grand Prix are tied on 30 points, with iSport just behind on 29 and DAMS on 17.
1st Heikki Kovalainen Arden International.1:01:43.066
"We planned our strategy to be adaptable to what was happening on the track. I got stuck in traffic straight away, so we stopped early. I had a good start, and ended up ninth or tenth on the first lap, and that was half the game. We had a good stop, and the car was very, very good straight out of the pits. I was struggling with grip towards the end, which we expected, and Giorgio was very fast. But I kept myself clean, didn't make any mistakes, and eventually he gave up."
2nd Giorgio Pantano Super Nova International. +1.832
"Second isn't what I wanted today. We didn't have any grip in the first laps, so we changed tyres and then the car came good. We were quicker than Kovalainen, but he was quick too and there was no way past him. I stayed as close as I could but it was difficult."
3rd Nico Rosberg ART Grand Prix. +24.953
"I was so surprised. I was really pushing in the beginning to get up, and then after a couple of laps it was `you're P3, chill out' so we just considered the gap in the back, I didn't care about the ones in front anymore. I just thought we're third let's stick with that."