The ART Grand Prix team had a great weekend at the Silverstone circuit in England for the fourth round of the 2009 GP2 Main Series with four points finishes, fastest lap in race one and two podiums, one of which was a victory courtesy of Pastor ...
The ART Grand Prix team had a great weekend at the Silverstone circuit in England for the fourth round of the 2009 GP2 Main Series with four points finishes, fastest lap in race one and two podiums, one of which was a victory courtesy of Pastor Maldonado. A
fter qualifying seventh on the grid for the first race of the weekend, Nico Huelkenberg drove a brilliant race to climb up through the field and finish on the third step of the podium, the young German getting a brilliant start and making up several places on the opening lap.
Despite an early pit stop and worn tyres at the end of the race, Nico held on to keep his rivals at bay and secure a fantastic podium result and the fastest race lap for the French based squad. Meanwhile, teammate Pastor Maldonado qualified in ninth and after a rather uneventful race found himself crossing the line in P7, placing him nicely on the first row of the grid for Sunday's second race.
Taking the lead off the start, there was no stopping the Venezuelan driver who led from lights to flag in dominating fashion, holding off strong completion from his rivals followed by a late safety car that helped secure his second victory of the season. Meanwhile, teammate Nico Huelkenberg, who started in sixth place due to his podium finish in race one, crossed the line in fifth place to add even more points to his ever increasing tally.
The ART team now heads to the Nuerburgring for round five in three weeks time with its two drivers equal on 26 points apiece, 14 behind championship leader Romain Grosjean while the team second in the team's championship with fifty two points, 21 behind current leaders, the Barwa Addax Team after closing the gap due to the highest points score of the Silverstone weekend.
Pastor Maldonado: "The weekend did not start that well with some difficulties in finding the right set-up and struggling in traffic during qualifying. But the beauty of ART Grand Prix is that they're able to make strong progress throughout a race weekend even though everything happens so fast. We improved the car a lot for Sunday's race, I made a good start, which was the key for my victory, and I could pull out a gap in the first half of the race. From then on I controlled the race really easily. We need to be in better shape for qualifying and if we can do that then there is no reason we could not catch the leaders as we are really strong in race conditions. I'm confidant and really optimistic, we are consistent, the team is working hard and is really impressive and with such a good basis it's up to the drivers to make the difference. I'm up for it."
Nico Hulkenberg: "Qualifying was OK even though we could have done a bit better. I made a good start and went on the outside to avoid some slow drivers in turn 1. I expected a tough first stint for the rear tyres with a heavy fuel load and so we decided to make an early pit stop. Coming out of the pits I pushed hard and the car was just perfect thanks to the fine tuning the team did. I had some moments in the end because the tyres were worn. Afterwards we found out that I had a slow puncture on the right rear which explains why I was struggling and locking the front left under braking. The overall result is a great one for me and for ART Grand Prix, we're getting better and better and with such a great team I think it bodes well. Next step is a win and I know we have the potential to secure one."
Frederic Vasseur: "It was quite a positive weekend for the whole team. We closed the gap to our rivals in both championships, we secured four points finishes and it's rare enough in such a competitive championship that it needs to be underlined. Pastor's end to the weekend was brilliant and Nico could have fought for the win in race 1 had he not been hampered by an engine problem in the practice session, another one in qualifying and above all by a slow puncture. We will approach the Nurburgring weekend with the tools and determination to aim for the victory."