After several podiums in the GP2 series this season, Alexandre Premat kept his promise - made after the Hockenheim weekend - and secured his first victory on the championship on Sunday at the Hungaroring, which played host to the 15th ...
After several podiums in the GP2 series this season, Alexandre Premat kept his promise - made after the Hockenheim weekend - and secured his first victory on the championship on Sunday at the Hungaroring, which played host to the 15th and 16th races of the season this weekend. The success of the ART GP team didn't stop there though as they secured another double finish- their second of the season -- with Nico Rosberg finishing behind his teammate.
Alexandre and Nico made an excellent start from their 5th and 4th places on the grid respectively, and soon worked their way up to the front before finally profiting from the abandonment of leader Olivier Pla, with a mechanical failure. Alex and Nico managed the difficult re-start perfectly after running behind the safety car and went on to take the chequered flag without any concerns. The weekend did not get off to the best of starts for the two Dallara Renault's from the ART GP team after they were relegated to the back of the grid after qualifying, a penalty that took away Nico's pole position and Alexandre's third row spot, however it failed to dampen their appetite or their motivation.
Both had brilliant starts on Saturday afternoon, and combined with a solid race with two excellent pit stops, Alexandre and Nico finished just off the podium, in 4th and 5th respectively. A stunning performance from both drivers considering the handicap of starting from 23rd and 24th places on the grid. At the end of the weekend, the ART GP team now consolidates its advance in the teams championship with 110 points, 24 ahead of their nearest rival. With 72 points, Nico Rosberg retains his 2nd place in the drivers championship and is just one point shy of the leader, Heikki Kovalainen, while teammate Alexandre -- has 43 points -- in fourth place.
Frederic Vasseur: I can only be thrilled with this result. At the beginning of the weekend, we could not have hoped for more. We're leaving the Hungarian weekend with a certain lead in the teams championship, whereas Nico is always well placed in the drivers classification, in which Alex is now in 4th position following an up and down weekend. The ART Grand Prix team is delighted, especially as the misunderstanding that caused our two cars to be sent to the back of the grid is now behind us and clarified thanks to the comprehension of the organizers; it gives us a good basis for the future. We can now work calmly for the next races.
Alexandre Premat: Qualifying wasn't too bad, even if I was disappointed by an error that cost me 9 tenths of a second. I had the potential to secure the all ART first row for the team, which would have allowed us to have a car behaving well and knowing exactly how to get the most out of the tyres. Following our penalty, we had no other option but to attack. I had an excellent start which enabled me to overtake many competitors, either on the inside or the outside, it was great! I had my stop early, on the 3rd lap, so that I didn't get caught in traffic. The team changed my tyres in record time and as a result I found myself in 4th position at the end of the pit stops window. This is a finish that the entire team can be proud given the initial handicap! The second race also went very well. Once again I got off to a good start, which enabled me to move up to 3rd place on the first lap. The periods behind the safety car and the problems of Olivier Pla enabled me to finish first. I am very happy for me and for the entire team, it is my first victory, the first of many!
Nico Rosberg: For sure this was not my best race on Saturday as I did two mistakes but I am very happy with the result. We showed we are quick. At the start I got too high temperature which made my display turn off. I had a total lack of information. When the red lights went off I realised I started with second gear which explains the bad start. During the race I pushed quite a lot and maybe I wanted too much. At the end my tyres were not that competitive anymore due to the early pitstop. I wasn't really happy with the pace of the car in race 2. In Hockenheim we had a really good race pace, but in Silverstone and here it wasn't great. We made a good step for the race, and I was able to push and have confidence in the car.