WE ARE THE CHAMPION! For the first time in the history of the GP2 Main Series, the championship crown were sewn up before the end of the season with ART Grand Prix back in the winner's circle, their third in the five year that the championship...
WE ARE THE CHAMPION!
For the first time in the history of the GP2 Main Series, the championship crown were sewn up before the end of the season with ART Grand Prix back in the winner's circle, their third in the five year that the championship has been running, securing the drivers crown at the Monza circuit this weekend.
After starting third on the grid for a very wet and chaotic race one that saw a delayed start due to torrential rain and took place behind the safety car, Nico Huelkenberg was up with the front runners but ran wide at Parabolica and lost several positions, eventually crossing the line sixth. The German racer also suffered overheating issues due to leaves in the radiator of his ART contender. The oil temperature was high and at first the team wanted to call him back into the pits, but the stop would have cost Nico around 40 seconds. Thankfully the temperature went down and he managed to save the time that would have been wasted from the unscheduled stop.
In second race, Nico knew he needed to finish ahead of Petrov to secure the drivers crown and he did just that, taking third place at the flag. Meanwhile, teammate Pastor Maldonado qualified sixth for race one, but was elevated to fifth after di Grassi's penalty, but after a good start he had an off track excursion on the damp track and was forced to retire. Starting from the back in race two meant that a good finish was always going to be a great challenge and he ended up crossing the line in fifteenth place after securing the second fastest race lap. With the drivers title firmly in hand, ART Grand Prix now heads to Portugal for the season finale of the GP2 Main Series this coming weekend where they aim to secure the second and most prestigious title, the team championship crown.
Nico Hulkenberg: "The first race was tough with the track conditions and an overheating problem with the engine because of leaves stuck in the radiator air intake, but the most important thing was to take the chequered flag and secure some points and a nice position on the grid for race two. And we did it! On Sunday, I stayed calm and totally focussed to get out of the first corner and then do what was needed to make sure the title was ours. To clinch the title is really fantastic because I had to fight with all these drivers who were doing their third or fourth year in the series and we had some difficulties at the beginning of the championship. But the most important thing is we kept improving weekend after weekend and we were the fastest in the last three of our four race meetings. Nothing would have been possible without a genius team. I'm delighted to be a part of ART Grand Prix, I love this team, it is with no doubt the most professional and best of the field. Now I want to finish the season on a high and to bring the teams' title to ART Grand Prix."
Pastor Maldonado: "We had some brake problems in free practice which prevented us from finding the best rhythm, but we improved quite well for qualifying and I was happy with 5th spot on the grid. With nothing to lose in the championship I was aiming for a podium but the track conditions were incredibly tricky and I lost control of the car in the Parabolica. Starting from P23 I was always going to have a tough second race but my 2nd fastest race lap showed that I was fast. Unfortunately I could not hope for better than 15th position. Congratulations to Nico and to ART Grand Prix for a well deserved title. I will do my best to help ART Grand Prix clinch the teams' title."
Frederic Vasseur: "ART Grand Prix is involved in motorsport to win races and championships and to get back the GP2 Main Series title, which is our third in five years, is an immense satisfaction. It can sounds like a cliche but I sincerely want to thank and congratulate all our partners and members of the team who did what was necessary to make the company the number 1 in the most competitive European series. Nico is a fantastic champion who handled the situation and dosed his effort with perfection despite the difficult conditions on Saturday where it would have been tempting to go too far to secure a good result then celebrating his title with a podium. The season is not over and the next step is to win the teams' title. The weekend was especially great for ART Grand Prix with the superb win in Portugal F3, courtesy of Jules Bianchi."