Nancy Knapp Schilke, GP2 Correspondent
The GP2 Series Feature Race began on a wet track after another rain storm in Hockenheim, Germany. Barwa Addax Team’s driver Johnny Cecotto elected to start on slicks instead of the Pirelli rains, and his decision paid off.
Stéphane Richelmi also started his Trident Racing car on slicks from 22nd on the grid; while Racing Engineering’s Fabio Leimer started on the second row in third but on the rains.
Giedo van der Garde had the pole for the standing start on the damp track, and when the lights went out, the Caterham Racing driver held the top position; while Leimer and Nigel Melker battled it out for second.
As the racing line started to dry out, Cecotto played his cards perfectly with his all but one of his rivals on the Pirelli rain tyres. After the early pit stops to change to the slick tires, the Venezuelan was able to open up a huge gap which saw him sail to the victory. Leimer ended second followed by Richelmi.
While the two racers on slicks had to concenter on handling their cars on the wet track, the action was heating up ahead of the duo with Fabio Onidi finding a way past rookie Felipe Nasr. On lap five, Leimer had the lead followed by Melker when the track had little water remaining to keep the wet weather tyres usable. Those on the wets were ready to dive into the pits for the needed slicks. Of course that gave Cecotto and Richelmi the advantage. Behind the two were Leimer, van der Garde, Nasr, and Melker.
With nearly a 30 second lead, the race was in the hands of the gambler. It was also the time for those who yearned for the top eight; if not the podium to take find a way past their rivals so they could gain the position. That was the most notable incident which is odd for action packed GP2 races.
The final pitstops for fresh tyres, saw Cecotto maintain the overall lead. He crossed the line with 10 seconds to spare over Leimer. Richelmi was able to take third out of the hands of Nasr. Van der Garde came home in fifth. Melker was sixth followed by Luiz Razia. James Calado was eighth, which means the Lotus GP driver will take the lights out start from pole position for the Sprint Race tomorrow morning.