As was expected after the qualifying session, Nelson A. Piquet dominated race one of the GP2 Series season opener held on the Spanish circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia. Lewis Hamilton and Adrian Valles completed the podium. The Brazilian driver...
As was expected after the qualifying session, Nelson A. Piquet dominated race one of the GP2 Series season opener held on the Spanish circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia. Lewis Hamilton and Adrian Valles completed the podium.
The Brazilian driver showed fantastic pace when the green lights went out and pulled a good margin of difference that allowed him to handle the race as he wanted.
"This is what we've been dreaming of since Spa last year. It is the start to the championship we've been dreaming of, and it's started perfectly so I'm really, really happy", noted the winner after the podium ceremony.
Piquet had an overwhelming pace with his Dallara-Renault, and used all of the track as he pushed hard. One of the keys to his victory was in the quick pit stop the team made on lap 12 of the competition. "The car oversteered all the time, and we had to stop early because the other cars stopped early, but we made a good stop and just got back out, made no mistakes, and it was good", Piquet said.
The rest of the race seemed to be easy for Piquet, although he saw it different from the cockpit: "The oversteering stay present and I had to make myself not push because otherwise the tyres wouldn't finish the race, and a few times I went on the dirt and it would take a whole lap to clean them again, but it was okay".
"The whole team is happy now, and we're all motivated to do a really good championship, a really good season", finished the winner that tomorrow will have a hard challenge starting from eighth in the sprint competition.
Second position belonged to the British racer Hamilton in the ART Grand Prix car, he completed a strong result after he started from third place and lost positions, dropping to seventh in the beginning.
"It's a nice strong start for myself and the team, and the team has done a great job here. To come to the first race and finish second is great, and it's a great starting point for me", Hamilton commented.
"I had a bit of a problem at the start, and didn't really get off the line too well, but the team did a good job with the pitstop and we came away with second", he explained as one of the keys to his debut that landed him a podium in the series.
Surely, another key for Hamilton was the strong pace of the ART Grand Prix machine that allowed the Brit to push hard during all the race. Hamilton had to argued a lot after the pitstop with his teammate Premat, who would finally run off the track.
"I think he (Premat) had a problem with the brakes. I was putting pressure on because I was quicker, but the team said to stay there because there was only ten laps left, and I thought it was probably a good idea to protect my tyres a bit in case any mistakes came. Then he made a mistake and I took advantage of it, but I found out later that he had a problem with his brakes", Hamilton explained about the incident.
Having Piquet and Hamilton in the first two places of the first competition of the new season proved what many people believe about them: They are the main candidates to take the title in the second year of GP2.
Third place belong to one of the local drivers when Valles gave Campos Racing it's first podium in the series. A nice gift for the approximate 11,000 people present around the circuit.
Valles had a fun race fighting from the green lights to the end in a fantastic debut for him in the series. "It was really good for me, having Nelson and Hamilton in front of me and thinking what a good race it was", he said.
About the competition itself, the young Spaniard mentioned: "They (Piquet and Hamilton) stopped really early and then we stopped for the tyres and I think that was good, because afterwards the rhythm was very good, but both ARTs overtook me in the pits and I think maybe we came in a little too late. But I think it was a good race".
"I hope to keep this rhythm and get some more good points -- there are still many races, and I hope to be there all the time and fighting for the top five". A difficult challenge that Valles has set for the season.
The point positions were filled by Nicolas Lapierre, Jose Maria Lopez, Gianmaria Bruni, Michael Ammermuller and Ernesto Viso. The Venezuelan will have tomorrow the chance to start from pole position in the sprint race.
During the weekend from April 21st to 23rd, the teams will race in the second round of the GP2 series season in the `Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari` in Imola, Italy.