Nelson A. Piquet managed to achieve his first GP2 Series victory in changing weather conditions during Saturday's race at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps -- although he was penalized due to an incident with Alex Premat and will start tomorrow's...
Nelson A. Piquet managed to achieve his first GP2 Series victory in changing weather conditions during Saturday's race at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps -- although he was penalized due to an incident with Alex Premat and will start tomorrow's sprint race from 18th position.
Nico Rosberg's third place finish was good enough to steal the championship points lead for the first time from Heikki Kovalainen, who ended up in 15th place -- a bad journey for the Finn.
The Brazilian who finally found his maiden win in the series on a changing circuit due to the conditions of rain for moments and dry in others was very happy. "This feels great, a big relief to finally do what we've waited a long, long time to do.
"It's really what we've all dreamed about - to get a win this season," continued Piquet. "To tell the truth, I didn't think we were going to get a win this year, because we were a step or two behind already, but it just worked out brilliantly and the team did a great job."
The competition was slowed four times behind the safety car due to the many crashes around the 7000 metres race track.
Piquet started from fifth place in dry conditions, which changed from a moment to moment with rain that was coming down in some parts of the circuit.
When the winner pitted during the second safety car period, he decided to stay with slick tyres, while second finisher Ernesto Viso went for wet tyres. Which was the best decision after all?
"I think both were quite similar - the wets were right on the edge to continue racing the way it was, and maybe the rain was right on the edge of not destroying the tyres - it was fifty-fifty. I just wasn't quicker because I was in traffic, but once I got some space in front of me I was driving clearly and good", Piquet said.
Until today's victory, second place in Spain and three third place finishes (Nurburgring, Hockhenheim and Monza), were the top results for Piquet in the GP2 inaugural season.
"This victory is very important - I think the whole team was waiting for it," admitted the race winner on what today meant to him and the team. "It's like every driver and every team wants to get that first win, because it's more clear for you and you think you can do it again".
About the friction with Premat, Piquet commented: "I braked a bit hard - everyone was braking, and we were coming from sixth gear to first gear - I locked up a little and unfortunately I touched him, and these things happen sometimes. It was wet, and I was on slicks".
The Venezuelan driver Viso finally claimed a podium finish this season with second place today. Sixth place in Hungary was the best result for the BCN driver until today.
"It's very important. Results are not everything - I think we've shown we can be quick, and we've been quick many times, in the tests, and sometimes in the races we've done the fastest lap," mentioned Viso.
"Winning is not everything, but it means a lot when you're on the podium," added Viso. "I'm happy that we've finally got this result, but we know we can be there more often."
The dispute for the championship was big news with Rosberg taking the lead in the standings leaving Kovalainen in second place for the first time since the season started in San Marino.
"It feels nice - it's about time, though! Since Hockhenheim, halfway through, we were only a couple of points back, and there was so much chaos in the last few races, but I'm really pleased to be leading now", commented Rosberg, who took third place with the right pit stop strategy after he started the race from 11th.
The German is clear on what might happen from in the race tomorrow and the final races in Bahrain. "It's going to be good for tomorrow, definitely, but there's not a lot of points there, and the weather and everything will play a role," Rosberg stated. "I'm looking forward to Bahrain more, where I think we're going to be very strong - I think we're going to be ballistic."
The moment to pit ... that was the mistake of Kovalainen and Arden today. An area that they have given many of their victories to this year was today their big mistake.
"It was not really the best day. We took a decision not to pit on lap two because we thought it was going to rain a bit more, so we thought in that case if we pit on lap two we would need to stop again for tyres," explained Kovalainen. "Obviously it was the wrong decision."
About the spin at the end of the race that cost him eighth place and the chance to start from the pole on Sunday, the Finn stated: "It's not very good for the championship - obviously it would have been important for me to get the pole for tomorrow to compensate and get some points, but I can't change it at the moment and I'm not too worried. I took the chance".
Rosberg is now ahead in the points with 101 to 99 over Kovalainen. Scott Speed added five more and remains third with 64 units to the 53 of Premat in fourth.
ART Grand Prix now has 154 points and is just at one step of taking the Teams' Championship depending on the outcome in tomorrow's sprint race. Arden is behind the points leader with 117.