Round 6 preview: Who to challenge Giorgio Pantano? The 2008 GP2 Series Championship leader will be the man to beat this weekend in Hockenheim. With three wins this season - which brings his personal record to eight GP2 wins in...
Round 6 preview: Who to challenge Giorgio Pantano?
The 2008 GP2 Series Championship leader will be the man to beat this weekend in Hockenheim.
With three wins this season - which brings his personal record to eight GP2 wins in total - Giorgio Pantano has become the most successful GP2 driver in the history of the Championship. The talented and experienced Racing Engineering ace is still leading the drivers' standings and has now managed an eleven point gap with Bruno Senna. Meanwhile, the Brazilian - who will be seeking to claim his third pole position of the season - is fourteen points ahead of Magny-Cours sprint race winner Sebastien Buemi. In fourth place, GP2 returnee Lucas di Grassi scored an impressive 24 points, including three second places, in only two rounds. One point behind the Brazilian, Romain Grosjean stands in fifth place. Since his win in Turkey, the GP2 Asia Series Champion struggled with mechanical problems and some bad luck, all combined with small mistakes.
Vitaly Petrov, Alvaro Parente, Karun Chandhok, Andreas Zuber and Pastor Maldonado complete the Top 10 in the drivers' championship. All five men are separated by only two points: Petrov leads with 20 points, Maldonado stands 10th with 18 points. The Series can also count on great potentials including Monaco sprint race winner Mike Conway or Kamui Kobayashi. The Dams driver sure has the pace, but has been pretty unlucky so far. All those men are possible threats to Pantano as they will give their best on the track to try and prevent the Italian from crossing the finish-line a winner yet again.
Often criticized because of its remote location, the Hockenheim circuit itself can produce some fierce racing as drivers play chicken with their braking points on the way into the hairpin at the end of the long, quick parabolica. But, as well as good straight-line speed, the numerous slow and medium corners demand a balanced setup. It's a track that Swiss Sebastien Buemi knows well, having raced there on his way to GP2 Series. "We should see a lot of overtaking at Hockenheim," explained Trust Team Arden's man. "I expect the passing will be in the same places as in F3. Turn two, then after the long straight into turn three and then finally in the Mercedes Arena. "If you look at the first corner it's impressive, everybody speaks about it. It's really fast and very easy to go off and crash there. You need to carry a lot of speed into the corner but be aware that the curbs are really high and can pitch you into the barriers. It's going to be great to come back and drive GP2 here. I can't wait for the race, especially to see whether some of the corners we used to take flat in an F3 car can be done the same in GP2!"