Imola: ART Grand Prix race one, two report

After the first round of the season when a series of small problems and errors prevented ART Grand Prix from collecting the fruits of their labour and competitiveness, the championship winning team put their hopes in the second race of the 2006 ...

After the first round of the season when a series of small problems and errors prevented ART Grand Prix from collecting the fruits of their labour and competitiveness, the championship winning team put their hopes in the second race of the 2006 championship at Imola over the weekend. After very fruitful tests where Lewis Hamilton set the best time and securing third and fourth on the grid for race one, the team's drivers Lewis and Alex looked good for a podium finish at least, but unfortunately that wasn't the case.

At the beginning of the first race, Lewis quickly moved into P2, while his French teammate also got off to a good start close behind him. Lewis bided his time behind the leader in the opening laps to help prevent his contender from overheating in the 37 lap race, however he was deemed to have jumped the start and handed a drive through penalty as a result. On lap eight when Lucas di Grassi crashed into the barriers at the Villeneuve chicane and the safety car was deployed, Lewis took the opportunity to come in and take his penalty. However, when he emerged after taking the penalty he thought he was dead last and passed the safety car after witnessing the two Campos Racing contenders doing the same thing, and was consequently black flagged for the infringement. Meanwhile, Alex carried on and finished just off the podium in fourth place.

After his exclusion in the first round, Lewis started race two from the back of the grid where after a brilliant run he crossed the line in tenth place, outside the points. Teammate Alex also failed to secure any points when after being hit violently by Michael Ammermuller his second race over before it really had a chance to begin and so was the chance of a podium finish.

Frederic Vasseur:

Once again it was a weekend of wasted opportunities and it is upsetting because it is prohibited to let go nice opportunities in such a competitive championship. It is necessary to remain positive: we have more points than we did at the same time in 2005 and our competitiveness is not in question. It should not be thought that we were the victims of

bad luck apart from the incident with Alex by Ammermuller in race two, as the rest of the problems fall at our feet, like Lewis' jump start, who was then disqualified and it ruined his chances in the second race. We must find a certain serenity and the results will follow. I do not have any doubts about the fact that we can reach that point, so therefore I am not concerned.

Alexandre Premat:

It was one frustrating weekend! Qualifying was not too bad, even if I thought I could have been higher up than fourth on the grid. It will now be necessary that I put my foot down and start from the front row in the next race! That being said, I had a good start in the first race, the team did very well during my pit stop, but I had a small lapse of concentration when I tried to overtake Yoshimoto and the two Arden's got passed me. I managed fourth place and that disappointed me a little, but it was nothing compared to what awaited me on Sunday! After another good start, I was passed by Viso and Glock and fell back to the 5th row. My objective was to score some big points, tat least ten from the weekend but unfortunately, Ammermuller did not really understand that the race was under safety car and destroyed my car and my race. Next round: Nurburgring, one I adore! I hope that this will be the real start to my championship.

Lewis Hamilton:

The practice session went well although we missed half of it when the clutch broke. It was not such a problem though. We went in qualifying whereas the track had changed a bit because of the F1. I lost at least 3 tenths of a second in the last corner and it's a shame because I should have been on Pole. Then, when it came to the first race, I made a mistake and had a jump start penalty. When I eventually came into the pits, I thought I was last joining the track. The pace car was there, the light was green and I thought I'd to go through. Well, all was confused, but we have to learn and keep progressing; we need to pick up a bit of confidence and I'm sure we'll be able to win races. As for the second race, I started last and finished 10th, which is not so bad especially on such a track. Some could see it as frustrating, but the main thing is to try to learn from this week-end. I feel sorry for the team; the guys did a great job this week-end and they should have been rewarded with a win, but we need to stay positive. It's early stages, there's a lot more to come, from the car and from myself!


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About this article
Series FIA F2
Drivers Lewis Hamilton , Alexandre Prémat , Lucas di Grassi , Frederic Vasseur , Michael Ammermüller
Teams ART Grand Prix , Campos Racing