Nurburgring: Renault race one report

Kovalainen scores brilliant Nurburgring win Renault Driver Development squad member Heikki Kovalainen scored a superb victory in Saturday's GP2 race at the Nurburgring, overcoming a penalty that had dropped him to 17th on the grid. Renault ...

Kovalainen scores brilliant Nurburgring win

Renault Driver Development squad member Heikki Kovalainen scored a superb victory in Saturday's GP2 race at the Nurburgring, overcoming a penalty that had dropped him to 17th on the grid.

Renault Driver Development squad member Heikki Kovalainen scored a superb victory in Saturday's GP2 race at the Nurburgring, overcoming a penalty that had dropped him to 17th on the grid. The win made up for his disappointment at Monaco, where a stuck wheel in a pit stop cost him a certain victory.

Heikki qualified his Arden entry 3rd, but along with two other drivers he was judged to have set his best time when yellow flags were out. He lost his two best qualifying times, and was put back to 17th. At the start of the race he was helped when several cars stalled on the grid and had to start from the pits. He then avoided a five-car collision at the first corner.

That left him in eighth place, and he took the first opportunity to make his compulsory pit stop, coming in on lap 3. He dropped to 17th initially, but his strong pace meant he moved up the order as others stopped. He made it into the lead on lap 18 and then overcame strong pressure from former Jordan F1 driver Giorgio Pantano to secure his second win of the season.

Meanwhile it was a disappointing day for RDD's Jose Maria Lopez with the DAMS entry. Starting fourth, he ran in the top four in the early stages, but lost time when a wheel stuck at a pit stop. Later a spin cost him more time, and he had to settle for 13th.

Heikki Kovalainen: "It's nice to make up for Monaco, and I'm very satisfied because after qualifying it was pretty bad, and last week we lost an easy win. But these things happen, and it's better not to think about it too much, and just look forward to the next day. We needed a few cars to break down and a couple of cars to crash at the first corner. But I wouldn't say it was totally a lucky win. It depended a little bit on the race situation, but it was clear for us that we needed to stop early. We needed to be quick straight after the pit stop and for the first half of the race. I passed Pantano during the pit stops, so obviously the pace at the beginning of the race was quite good. I was struggling a little bit with the grip towards the end of the race, but we sort of expected it, and I think at the end Pantano had more pace than I had. He tried to push a little bit and the gap was big again. I didn't make a single mistake, I just kept going at the same pace and the same rhythm all the time, and tried to make sure I didn't outbrake myself or anything. I knew that was going to be the key. On Sunday I start eighth so I just have to try to attack. You never know what can happen.'

Jose Maria Lopez: "I made a good start and I was third, and then I took the kerb too aggressively and lost the car a little bit at the chicane, so two guys passed me. Then at the pit stop there was a problem, and we lost more than 10 seconds. It was a shame because when I went on the circuit I was right behind Bruni and Jani. I past Bruni, and then after passing Jani I went a little bit wide, and the tyres got dirty. I arrived at the fast chicane and took the outside kerb and I lost the car suddenly. It was the end of my race, really. Today I overtook people and it could have been another race if I had a better pit stop. Tomorrow I'm starting 13th. It's a longer race than before, so we'll see.'

-renaultf1-

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About this article
Series FIA F2
Drivers Giorgio Pantano , Heikki Kovalainen , Jose Maria Lopez
Teams DAMS