Great victory for Johnny Cecotto in Hockenheim


Race winner Johnny Cecotto
Race winner Johnny Cecotto

Photo by: GP2 Media Service

Johnny Cecotto drove to a second glorious victory at the German circuit of Hockenheim after having made a historic fight back from his 17th place start. Both he and the Barwa Addax Team decided to make a high risk move and decided on slick tyres when the rest were on other compounds. This has allowed the team to continue making progress, picking up more points than their main rivals this weekend. Josef Král, has performed well without having picked up points.

Johnny Cecotto started the weekend in free practice, which turned out to be a lottery due to the adverse weather conditions. It was impossible to improve on times once the rain came in the middle of the session. Had it not been for this the drivers would have had more options to be among the leading times. Johnny, in the qualification session was caught out by the rain when he was going for a quick time and ended up with an unfortunate 18th fastest time, leaving him at the back of the grid.

The first race started on a very wet track and all the drivers decided to start on wets, except for two drivers, Cecotto and Richelmi in what was a very risky decision (only 2 out of 24 took the risk) taken by driver and Barwa Addax Team. Johnny Cecotto made a good start, including an extraordinary first couple of laps when it was extremely difficult just to keep the car on the track driving on slicks. As soon as the circuit started to dry out, Johnny began to attack and climb through the field from his 18th placed start and managed to to put himself at the head of the field, thanks to some truly brilliant overtaking which in turn forced the rest of the teams to make their pit change earlier than planned to change tyres.

The Venezuelan driver was able to build up a big lead from his principle rivals and he came in to make his pit stop in the middle of the race with sufficient margin to come back on track in first position, with the incommodity of being pushed from behind by a rival during the first lap back on track. Cecotto resisted all the attacks from his rivals until his tyres warmed up. He was then able to pull away and build up a lead of 7 seconds and it proved to be enough to win. It was his day and both he and the team deserved the victory.

In the second race, Johnny started from eighth position after the first 8 had their positions inverted for the sprint race. He was at an extreme disadvantage due to the fact that he could not use hard compound tyres for second race. He looked after his tyres and with some great defense he was able to finish in a creditable sixth position, when all around doubted that he could hold out 27 laps on softer compound tyres.

Josef Kral drove well this weekend without getting the breaks necessary to end up in points scoring positions. It would be true to say he was close in the second race to picking up points. In the free practice he finished 12th and in qualifications he had the same bad run as his team-mate and finished the session in 20th place. In the first race he didn’t take the risk with the choice of tyres and found himself condemned to fighting it out with the main peloton of drivers with little possibility of making progress. Despite this he managed to climb to a 12th place finish. In the second race he made a flying start and was in position to fight it out for the points but a hard and somewhat controversial battle with Merkel and being victim of overtaking when the yellow flag was out, made him fall back more than he deserved. He showed that he had a race rhythm to compare with the leading drivers. It was a shame that he was unable to pick up points after having driven so well.

Johnny Cecotto continues making up ground with the leading drivers in the overall classification after 2 great victories and an equally important second place finish. He is starting to close in on the leading drivers and this allows Barwa Addax Team to consolidate its position in the mid-table of the team classification, having been the team that most points have gained this weekend with one victory, fastest lap time and a sixth place finish in the second race, demonstrating that the team is back to its best in terms of strategy and fight backs.

The next event is next weekend (27-29. 07.2012) in Hungaroring, Hungary where we hope Barwa Addax Team, Johnny Cecotto and Josef Král continue with the roll they are on in the last few races and can make yet further progress in the general classifications.

Johnny Cecotto, official Barwa Addax Team driver: “A fantastic weekend!!! I arrived at Hockenheim knowing the circuit very well and knowing that our car would be very good here. In qualifying we had a lot of traffic in the first 5 minutes when the track was at it's best and we couldn't get a lap in, later during the session when the track was slower I was running almost a second quicker than everybody else. In race 1 when we went out for the formation laps I already saw some dry spots on the track and knew that Hockenheim dries up really quickly so I said to the team we could try slick tyres. We decided to do so because we thought that later during the race it would start to rain and that everybody had to stop again for rain tyres. At the end the rain didn't come but the first choice was so good that we were almost 30 seconds in front of Leimer after his pit stop also because from the pit wall the engineers were telling me that I had to push very hard and so I opened a big gap. We decided to change two tyres because we were scared to lose too much time at the pit stop which sacrificed race 2 a little because we had no more prime tyres by changing only two wheels in this race. Race 2 went very well for the handicap we had to start with option tyres. The race was very difficult but we managed to finish it gaining 2 positions and we arrived P6. In Formula 1 the option tyre lasted only about 11 laps and we did 27 on them. I'm very happy also because for the 2nd time this year I'm the driver who scored most points in a weekend.”

Josef Kràl, official Barwa Addax team driver: “It was a bit up and down weekend because unfortunately in qualifying we missed the first few laps when the times were done so I had to start from P20. We didn't took the risk to go on slicks but anyway it looked like it can work for me, because after we put slick the car was mega fast. I was the fast on the track by a lot but in that period I started to have big brakes problems so I had to slow down and at least to try finish the race. I still managed to overtake Chilton even with the bad breaks but P12 was maximum. In the second race I had very good start and very good first lap so I moved from P12 to P6 but at the restart after safety car a struggled to put temperature to my front tires so I lost a couple of places. Then I was trying looking after my tires and when I was about to start pushing Coletti overtook my under yellow flags and nearly spun me so I lost another several places and when I was trying to get back we touched with Berthon in the hairpin which cost me some more places as well. I hope that in Hungary we will have such a competitive car as we had here and more luck to finally get on points or even better to podium.”

Source: Barwa Adday Team

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About this article
Series FIA F2
Drivers Johnny Cecotto , Josef Kral
Article type Race report
Tags addax, barwa, cecotto, hockenheim, kral