GREAT PERFORMANCES FROM VITALY PETROV 4th AND ROMAIN GROSJEAN 5th CONTROVERSIAL DECISION FROM STEWARDS IN GERMANY As we reach the halfway mark of the season in the GP2 Series 2009, both drivers of Barwa Addax Team have driven this morning...
GREAT PERFORMANCES FROM VITALY PETROV 4th AND ROMAIN GROSJEAN 5th
CONTROVERSIAL DECISION FROM STEWARDS IN GERMANY
As we reach the halfway mark of the season in the GP2 Series 2009, both drivers of Barwa Addax Team have driven this morning extraordinary races, at the German circuit of Nurburgring. Vitaly Petrov finished 4th and Romain Grosjean 5th, despite adverse weather conditions and the decision of the race stewards.
Vitaly Petrov made a fantastic start and from 5th place on the grid he got to the first corner in first place, having risked everything to give himself the chance of controlling and winning the race. He set the race rhythm from the start and soon was caught up in a hard battle with the home driver, both setting fast lap times and pulling away from the rest. Petrov has been the only driver able to fight it out head to head with the German driver this weekend. However, just when he was giving the German a run for his money in his own backyard, Vitaly was penalized with a Drive Through for supposedly having caused an accident at the start.
Barwa Addax Team sportingly accepts the penalty but disagrees with the stewards' decision. The Russian driver has been considered guilty for causing di Grassi's accident at the end of the first straight, when it was the Brazilian driver who shunted Sergio Perez. The Barwa driver made a superb start and only touched the front wheel of di Grassi with his rear tyre, once he had passed the Fat Burner driver and the Brazilian continued in a straight line without having been notably affected by the contact. Some three hundred metres later, Lucas didn't brake hard enough at the end of the straight and collided into Sergio Perez and "it was the Russian driver's fault?!!" Obviously if Lucas had been forced off line or if he had collided into the wall in the finish straight there could be an argument in favour of a sanction, but Petrov cannot be considered responsible for an incident which occurred well after his contact with the same car, whose driver is the only one responsible for his braking at the end of the straight.
Let's hope that this doesn't have serious consequences in what's left in this year's championship, particularly after what happened in Monaco when it was considered reasonable for a driver to change direction several times causing the accident of Romain Grosjean. Yet here, the leader of the race is penalized for touching the front tyre of another car with his rear tyre a few hundred metres from the start. It was a shame because we were deprived of a showdown between Vitaly and Nico in the closing phases.
Despite everything, Vitaly came back on track and showed his class fighting it out with the second third placed drivers, but all in vain as he finished in an undeserved fourth position. Nevertheless his options are still very much alive for the title. Once more the Russian driver showed his professionality and fair play, testimony to his category as a person.
What can one say about Romain Grosjean's race? Trully exceptional! Any driver capable of climbing from 22nd on the start grid to finish in 5th place in the second shorter race, without pit stops, having overtaken one by one the majority of his main rivals, should have been up in the first positions fighting out the lead. The weekend has not been the most fortunate for the French-Swiss driver, after having had a hydraulic failure just two laps from the end of the first race which forced him to abandon, on top of which he was penalized five positions on the starting grid. Two points was an unthinkable feat at the start of the race.
After what was a controversial decision by the race stewards there is a change in the lead for the drivers championship with the German driver taking advantage of the penalty against Petrov. He now leads on 46 points with the Barwa Addax Team drivers just behind, Romain Grosjean on 42 points and Vitaly Petrov on 41.
In spite of everything, the team championship is still dominated by the Barwa Addax Team on 83 points, followed by the ART Team on 72 points with Fat Burner Racing Engineering way back in third on 26 points.
It's clear that there are three clear contenders for this season's drivers championship and two teams fighting it out for the constructor's title.
The next event is at the Budapest circuit in Hungary 24th-26th of July.