Piquet Triumph Tightens Screw on Hamilton Nelson Piquet Jr has won today's GP2 series race at Istanbul Park Turkey, from Lewis Hamilton and Alex Premat. The Brazilian led from start to finish to record his fourth race win of the year by over ...
Piquet Triumph Tightens Screw on Hamilton
Nelson Piquet Jr has won today's GP2 series race at Istanbul Park Turkey, from Lewis Hamilton and Alex Premat. The Brazilian led from start to finish to record his fourth race win of the year by over 17 seconds. His points for first place, coupled with his two points for pole position and point for fastest race lap, mean that he has closed the championship gap on Lewis to just six points with three races remaining. Lewis and Alex's podium positions, however, mean that their ART Grand Prix team now has an unassailable lead in the teams' championship and will duly be crowned 2006 GP2 series champions in two weeks' time in Monza.
Race Report. Nelson led the field away as the lights went out, with Jose Maria Lopez desperately slow off the line to and swamped by a gaggle of the cars around him. The new order after the first corner saw Alex in second, with Giorgio Pantano third, Jose fourth, Adam Carroll fifth and Lewis losing a place to sit sixth. As Jose and Adam tussled through the opening corners, the pair ran wide and Lewis sailed by Adam, eventually taking Jose in the run down to the final complex for fourth. But the cheers around the circuit rang out for Giorgio, who had executed a beautiful pass on Alex just moments earlier to the delight of the fans who have adopted the Italian team through its Turkish sponsor Petrol Ofisi, and local driver Jason Tahinci.
As Nelson pulled out fastest lap after fastest lap, Lewis caught his team-mate. The Briton may be in the midst of an epic title battle with Nelson, but that wasn't going to stop Alex from making his life any easier than it absolutely needed to be. The pair ran side by side through almost the entire final half of the second lap, before Lewis carried the momentum out of the final corner and glided past the Frenchman at Turn One at the start of lap three.
Jose meanwhile was in for his pitstop on lap 7, but it was a long one and he dropped way down the order on his return to the track. He would eventually finish ninth after a brilliant and battling drive. One lap later, and a rampant Lewis had caught and passed Giorgio, again at Turn One. The local crowd were destined not to get their dream win, as just six laps later the Italian slowed and retired. Lewis finally stopped on lap 15 but was delayed by a few seconds with a problem on the right rear gun.
He was soon on his way though, and emerged ahead of Alex. Nelson finally made his stop eight laps later and, having changed all four tyres, went back out and set a string of fastest laps to pull out almost 18 seconds on Lewis by the chequered flag. Alex finished a fine third with Timo Glock right on his tail following a great race from tenth on the grid. Lucas di Grassi had stopped late like Nelson and had also driven a strong race to take fifth, with Adam sixth, Andreas Zuber a fine seventh and Xandi Negrão eighth for the final point and another Sunday pole to add to his collection.
1st Nelson Piquet Jr -- Piquet Sports. 55:59.398
I'm happy. It wasn't easy as Lewis was pushing very fast. I couldn't make any mistakes and the pitstop had to go perfectly. Everything had to be right and that's how it happened.
2nd Lewis Hamilton -- ART Grand Prix. +17.879
To come from fifth was really good for us. We needed the points as Nelson is getting close and we had good race pace. Nelson and I are yet to have a wheel to wheel battle so I hope we get that tomorrow.
3rd Alex Premat -- ART Grand Prix. +23.964
I made a really good start, but the car was hard to drive on the first set of tyres. I stopped early and the car was better. It wasn't easy to keep Timo behind, but I'm happy with third and I'll push tomorrow.