Hungaroring: Round nine preview

GP2 series Hungary for more The GP2 series arrives at the Hungaroring circuit on the outskirts of Budapest, Hungary, this weekend, looking to continue the sensational racing action that has become the trademark of the championship. Last weekend...

GP2 series Hungary for more

The GP2 series arrives at the Hungaroring circuit on the outskirts of Budapest, Hungary, this weekend, looking to continue the sensational racing action that has become the trademark of the championship. Last weekend in Germany, motor racing fans around the world were treated to two outstanding races as the best up-and-coming drivers in the world continued their quest to prove their worth before their potential future employers in Formula One. With just three rounds of the 2006 season remaining, the championship battle is still raging, and the ramifications of this weekend's results will prove pivotal in the battle for the crown.

Times Like These: Last weekend, the difference between Gimmi Bruni's GP2 series pole lap and the best F1 practice laptime on Friday was only six seconds, a reflection of just how comparative the series has become to its big brother, and of just how good a preparation it is for the next generation of F1 stars. But what was even more impressive was the racing itself. We were treated to two of the best races in the history of the category, with Gimmi taking Race 1 and Timo Glock delighting his fans in Race 2 with a last-lap overtaking manoeuvre on Jose Maria Lopez to steal a fantastic win on home soil.

While the racing on track was fast-paced and action-packed from first to last place, the heat that enveloped the Hockenheim track also made it one of the toughest weekends to date for the drivers and teams of the GP2 series. All were looking towards this weekend's racing in Hungary with a fair amount of trepidation, as weather reports put Budapest in the low 40s. The city has experienced large thunderstorms over the past 48 hours however, and as the GP2 series paddock takes shape, the cars are prepared and Bridgestone's medium compound Potenza tyres strapped on, the temperatures have dropped off significantly.

The Hungaroring used to be a track on which people considered overtaking to be nigh-on impossible. Last year however, the GP2 series displayed two enthralling races, with Neel Jani holding off the advances of Heikki Kovalainen to take victory in Race 1, while Alex Premat led home Nico Rosberg for an incredible ART Grand Prix 1-2 in Race 2, after both cars had started from the back of the grid on Saturday following their exclusion from qualifying for an infringement of the GP2 series Technical Regulations over the positioning of their steering rack.

Alex will again be at a disadvantage this weekend as he arrives in Budapest with the knowledge that he will face a 10-place grid penalty for his part in the race-ending incident between himself and Hiroki Yoshimoto last Sunday. His team-mate Lewis Hamilton however will arrive in high spirits having seen his championship advantage increase last weekend as he scored two podiums while his main rival Nelson Piquet Jr failed to pick up a single point.

What about the championship? Lewis leads the battle for the drivers' crown on 82 points, with Nelson second on 56. Alex sits third on 49 while Timo, who has scored more points than any other driver since moving to iSport International at Silverstone, sits fourth on 40 points. In the race for the teams' title ART Grand Prix holds a 131 to 75 point advantage over iSport International. The French squad can wrap up the championship this weekend should they finish the event with a 66 point advantage over their nearest rivals.

-gp2 series-

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Series FIA F2
Drivers Lewis Hamilton , Nelson Piquet , Nico Rosberg , Heikki Kovalainen , Neel Jani , Timo Glock , Hiroki Yoshimoto
Teams ART Grand Prix