ART Grand Prix left the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium with their 10th podium finish to add to their 2009 tally, courtesy of Nico Huelkenberg. The German driver started from third on the grid and put pressure on eventual ...
ART Grand Prix left the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium with their 10th podium finish to add to their 2009 tally, courtesy of Nico Huelkenberg. The German driver started from third on the grid and put pressure on eventual race one winner Alvaro Parente for the entire event however, he was forced to settle for the second step of the podium and a seventh placed start in race two. Sadly, Sunday's race was over in the blink of an eye when he was the victim of a more than optimistic over-braking manoeuvre at turn one by Clos, who was later penalized with a 10 place grid penalty in the next event. Meanwhile, after setting the fastest time in free practice Pastor Maldonado secured ninth on the starting grid after enduring a tough qualifying session. Mechanics changed his engine for Saturday's race due to an overheating issue and he made up four places by the first corner, eventually finishing fourth. The aim was to get onto the podium in race two and after making it into P3, a coming together with Mortara ended his hopes.
Nico Huelkenberg: "We didn't put it together and I did not put my best partials in the same lap in qualifying and so third place was not so bad because it could have been much worse in a tricky session. I had a good start and was faster than Parente coming to La Source but he had the inside line. After that he was really fast and I had my moments especially with the tyres' temperature. I tried to put him under pressure when there was oil as I could see how his car was behaving and I tried to adapt my braking and lines. But Alvaro was strong and he did a great job. My second race was over after a few meters when somebody forgot to brake at the first turn. I'm not thinking about the championship, I want to take it race by race and to get some great results."
Pastor Maldonado: "With Monaco Spa is my favourite track. I won there in Formula Renault 2.0 Italy, in Euroseries 3000 as well as in GP2 last year and I had big expectations arriving in Spa. The practice session went well on a damp but drying asphalt. The car was efficient and was making a good use of the tyres but the qualifying was much harder as it was the first time we were driving on the dry and because it got neutralized. I took a good start but it could have been even better if di Grassi had not hampered me. Our strategy was the best. We pitted early to compensate some problems and the 4th position was ideal to fight for a podium the next day. The beginning was really promising as I was third after three turns. I overtook Kobayashi at Les Combes and I made a move on Mortara soon after but I had to brake because he did not see me. I was much faster than him and I got past, half of my car was ahead of his but he did not brake and pushed me into the gravel. We had a contact and it was the end of my race. I'm upset because the podium was a realistic and minimum objective."
Frederic Vasseur: "It is a very good weekend in regard to the standings as we opened up a gap in both championships. Nico and Pastor were both very competitive but were victims of weird manoeuvres from two other drivers in the second race and that's a shame. Congratulations to Ocean and to Tiago Monteiro. I was happy when he was driving for ASM and I am delighted for him now because just like the driver, the team manager, is doing a great job."