Lopez wins GP2 sprint race at Barcelona Renault Driver Development squad member Jose Maria Lopez scored a well-judged victory in Sunday morning's GP2 sprint race at Barcelona, in front of a huge crowd of Spanish fans. Renault Driver...
Lopez wins GP2 sprint race at Barcelona
Renault Driver Development squad member Jose Maria Lopez scored a well-judged victory in Sunday morning's GP2 sprint race at Barcelona, in front of a huge crowd of Spanish fans.
Renault Driver Development squad member Jose Maria Lopez scored a well-judged victory in Sunday morning's GP2 sprint race at Barcelona, in front of a huge crowd of Spanish fans. Following Heikki Kovalainen's success in the Saturday event at Imola both RDD drivers have already registered a win in the category.
With the top eight drivers from Saturday's race starting in reverse order, Jose Maria lined up third, and Heikki sixth. In fact when the pole man failed to get off the dummy grid Lopez unexpectedly found himself in second, with a clear track ahead, and on the cleaner side.
He didn't waste the opportunity he'd been given, and after a great start he moved straight into the lead. Apart from a brief safety car interlude caused by a crash on the pit straight he spent much of the race under pressure from Adam Carroll, but he didn't put a foot wrong with the DAMS entry. He finished nearly 3 seconds ahead of eventual runner-up Nelson Piquet Jr to record his first race win since he competed in the Renault V6 series in 2003.
In contrast it was a disappointing day for Heikki, who failed to get off the grid at all after suffering a transmission problem with his Arden car. The Finn had recorded a win and two third places in the first three races of the season, and he still leads the championship, albeit by one point. Both drivers are now looking forward to Monaco, where GP2 will have just one rather than two races.
Jose Maria Lopez: 'I knew if I was able to start well the guys in front of me weren't as strong, so it was possible to win. We had many problems on Saturday and the car was very difficult to drive. Today we made many modifications, and it was OK. I opened a good gap before the safety car, and after the safety car the back of the car felt unstable. But I just tried to carry on with my race, as it was important for the team to finish first. I didn't win in F3000 last year, but it was very good for me for experience, and it was a rookie year anyway. I made mistakes but I tried to learn. Yesterday I made a mistake, but today in the same car with the same problems I finished the race on top. I know Monaco very well, and that should help me. I finished third in V6 and third in F3000, and I hope I can do well again.'
Heikki Kovalainen: 'I dropped the clutch like normal and it started to move, but something gave up and after that I had no drive. The driveshafts were fine, and I think I had the gears, but maybe it was the gearshaft or something. It's very frustrating as I think we could have done well. Now I'm looking forward to Monaco. I have never raced there, but I've walked around and done a couple of kart races! I just have to go there and try to learn the track as soon as I can. The only thing to do is stay out of the barriers, not do anything silly at the beginning, and build up my confidence.'