Catalunya: Race one report

Prémat takes last-lap victory in Spain Alex Prémat has taken his first win of the 2006 GP2 series in today's race in Barcelona, after passing his ART Grand Prix team-mate Lewis Hamilton on the final lap. Lewis took over the lead of the ...

Prémat takes last-lap victory in Spain

Alex Prémat has taken his first win of the 2006 GP2 series in today's race in Barcelona, after passing his ART Grand Prix team-mate Lewis Hamilton on the final lap. Lewis took over the lead of the race after Nelson Piquet Jr was forced to take a drive-through penalty, and the Briton looked to have his third win on the trot wrapped up. Alex had different ideas however, and after catching Lewis he made an audacious attempt for the lead on the final lap. The pair touched, Lewis spun, and Alex ran home victorious ahead of his team-mate in second and Michael Ammermüller third for Arden International.

At the start, Nelson got a perfect getaway from pole position, while Lewis was slow away from fourth. The Brazilian led Alex, Adam Carroll, the lightening bolt that was Olivier Pla, Gimmi Bruni and Michael. Lewis was in on lap two for an early pitstop, and emerged in clean air to set about making up the time he had lost at the start.

The plan worked, as Lewis rattled off fastest lap after fastest lap. But when Nelson made his stop on lap 13, the Brazilian had done just enough to stay ahead and the pair, who were now effectively battling for the lead, were separated by under a second. But the potential for an epic dual between these two apparently equally matched drivers was not to be, as Nelson was called in for a drive- through penalty for speeding in the pitlane. He duly took his punishment and re-emerged out of the points, but on a mission to make the most out of a race which had just been turned upside down.

At the front, Ferdinando Monfardini was driving a great race, leading easily and actually pulling away from Lewis in second place. The Italian held on for as long as he could, becoming the final man to stop on lap 30 to strap on new tyres. He emerged well in the hunt for points, in the midst of a battle between Olivier Pla, Tristan Gommendy, Nelson and Nicolas Lapierre.

Lewis now led the race, but Alex was closing him down. With five laps to run the gap was under a second and the two played cat and mouse. On the final lap Alex got a great drive on Lewis down the back straight, and into La Caixa the Frenchman tried an ambitious move on the inside. The pair made it through safely, but as they exited the tight left-hander, Alex's front right tyre touched Lewis' rear left, spinning the Briton through 360 degrees.

Alex held his pace and took the win, ahead of Lewis who managed to keep going despite his spin. Michael was third, holding off the advances of Clivio Piccione in the dying laps. Clivio himself spun off trying to pass Michael on the final lap, so fourth place went to the battle-hardened Nelson, as Tristan took his first points in fifth with Ferdinando sixth, Xandi Negrao seventh and Olivier eighth. Pole for tomorrow's race however goes to Ernesto Viso who finished ninth, as Olivier's car was found to be underweight and was disqualified.

1st Alex Prémat ART Grand Prix.57:24.150
"I need to move back to Lewis and Nelsinho in the championship, to win a lot of races and hopefully then win the championship. I'm sorry for Lewis because he had a good race, but I think I was much faster at the end... so I am very happy with this result."

2nd Lewis Hamilton ART Grand Prix. +2.187
"This is racing, and fortunately I managed to get second. I was lucky because I just managed to keep the motor running, and to get points which is the most important thing for me and for the team."

3rd Michael Ammermüller. +10.963
"I'm satisfied with the race today because I finished third and started fifth, I just wanted to be maybe in the top five or six and get the podium, and now I'm always there and also in the championship too."

-gp2-

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About this article
Series FIA F2
Drivers Lewis Hamilton , Nelson Piquet , Adam Carroll , Clivio Piccione , Tristan Gommendy , Olivier Pla , Nicolas Lapierre , Ferdinando Monfardini , Ernesto Viso , Michael Ammermüller
Teams ART Grand Prix , Arden International