Nelson wins, Heikki spins, Nico leads the way Nelson Piquet Jr has taken his first victory in the GP2 series at a rain affected Spa- Francorchamps. The Brazilian is the 10th winner of the championship. He used the most of four safety car periods...
Nelson wins, Heikki spins, Nico leads the way
Nelson Piquet Jr has taken his first victory in the GP2 series at a rain affected Spa- Francorchamps. The Brazilian is the 10th winner of the championship. He used the most of four safety car periods in the differing conditions, opting to stay on dry tyres throughout, to beat Ernesto Viso by three seconds. Nico Rosberg picked up the final podium position in third and takes the lead in the championship standings for the first time this season. Heikki Kovalainen, meanwhile, finished down in 15th position after spinning to a halt on the final lap whilst attempting to take eighth position.
Race Report. The race was won and lost during the second safety car period, on lap 5. Alex Premat, who had taken the lead at the start, jumped into the pits followed by Scott Speed, Nelson, Ernesto and Nico. Little did they know at the time, but the changeable weather and total of four safety car periods would play into their hands. With nine laps to go, the three leading cars of Adam Carroll, Heikki and Jose Maria Lopez had still not pitted, but as Nelson scythed through the positions and up to third, it became clear that they had left it too late. They came to the pitlane with six laps to go, releasing Nelson, Nico and Ernesto into the lead. Ernesto soon found his way past Nico, as Nelson put in a superb pace in the wet.
Scott Speed, who had stopped a second time for wet tyres, had the advantage in the rain affected areas, and made the most of it to come home fourth, with Juan Cruz Alvarez finally getting his first GP2 series points in fifth. Borja Garcia came home sixth ahead of Xandi Negrao and Adam. The Ulsterman had taken the final points-paying position with 500m to go, after Heikki had spun out trying to take the place for himself from a determined Mathias Lauda. Adam also picked up fastest lap of the race in the process and will start from pole for tomorrow's race.
Nelson however will start from 18th on the grid. He was due to start eighth having won today, but a collision with Alex on the fourth restart was deemed to have been of the Brazilian's making, and the Stewards decided to give him a ten place grid penalty as a punishment.
What about the championship? Nico's podium and Heikki's failure to score means that for the first time this season the German leads the championship. Nico now has 101 points to Heikki's 99 with just three races remaining. Scott has moved closer to consolidating third on 64 points ahead of Alex on 53, Adam on 49, Neel on 48 and Nelson on 46. ART Grand Prix now leads on 154, with Arden International second on 117 and Super Nova International on 92 points.
1st Nelson Piquet Jr Hitech Piquet Sports.1:08:13.224
"It feels great and it's a big relief to finally do what we've waited a long time to do. It's really what we've all dreamed about to get a win this season. I honestly didn't think we'd get there this season, but it just worked out brilliantly and the team did a great job."
2nd Ernesto Viso BCN Competicion. +3.049
"I think we've shown we can be quick, and we've been quick many times, in the tests, and sometimes in the races we've done the fastest lap. Winning is not everything, but it means a lot when you're on the podium. I'm happy that we've finally got this result, but we know we can be there more often."
3rd Nico Rosberg ART Grand Prix. +9.930
"I was really driving like a grandmother because it was quite dangerous conditions today I didn't want to exaggerate anything or take any risks. I could have probably pushed for a win today, when I got second I definitely had a good car today but I was not going to come off the track."