Frustration for Kovalainen and Lopez at Spa With just four laps to go Heikki Kovalainen and Jose Maria Lopez were running one-two in Saturday's GP2 race at Spa, but late compulsory pit stops dropped them down the order. With just four laps to...
Frustration for Kovalainen and Lopez at Spa
With just four laps to go Heikki Kovalainen and Jose Maria Lopez were running one-two in Saturday's GP2 race at Spa, but late compulsory pit stops dropped them down the order.
With just four laps to go Heikki Kovalainen and Jose Maria Lopez were running one-two in Saturday's GP2 race at Spa, but late compulsory pit stops dropped them down the order and meant that both Renault Driver Development squad members failed to make the points. In a dramatic race that ended on a wet track the Arden and DAMS teams gambled on a strategy that ultimately did not pay off.
Heikki started fourth on the grid, and got up to third at the start. An early safety car incident the saw many of the drivers come straight into the pits to make their compulsory stops. However, both Heikki and Jose Maria were told to stay out. Dark clouds were threatening and their teams hoped to use their compulsory stops for a change to wets, which would have given them a clear advantage over those who had already pitted.
Although it did begin to rain, it was never heavy enough for the strategy to pay off, and a series of safety car interludes meant that those at the front could not make a break. Heikki fought his way into the lead, and both he and Jose Maria eventually pitted with four laps to go, along with Adam Carroll, who had also followed the same strategy.
They rejoined in ninth and 10th places but despite lapping faster than those ahead they had too big a gap to close. On the last lap Heikki tried to take eighth place -- and thus pole for Sunday -- from Mathias Lauda. Unfortunately the pair made contact, and Heikki spun to a halt. He was classified 15th, while Jose Maria finished in 10th.
Heikki has now lost the championship lead to Nico Rosberg, who leads him by 101 points to 99 with just the Bahrain finale to come after this weekend.
Heikki Kovalainen: "During the first safety car period we were thinking that maybe it will start to rain a bit more, and a little bit earlier, so we were hoping that we could take the wet tyres and only stop the one time. But it didn't start to rain very hard until the last few laps, so it didn't work. Also I made a little mistake on the last lap with Lauda. I tried to overtake him and we made contact. Now I just have to fight back and score more points that Nico. That's quite simple, and I'm not going to let today bother me too much. Hopefully Sunday will be better. The gap is still very small.'
Jose Maria Lopez: "It was definitely the wrong strategy! I'm really disappointed again, because I could have done much better. I was aiming for a good result, but it looks like nothing can go right at the moment. The most disappointing thing is we couldn't even finish eighth. I was close, but not close enough. The only thing that would have helped is if it had rained a lot, because you need a lot of rain with this tyres. It was a little bit wet at the end, but with the rain tyres there was no grip. We did a lot of laps behind the safety car, and that also complicated things because when we stopped everybody was together.'