Javier Villa followed yesterday's victor, Timo Glock, as the second two-time winner in the 2007 GP2 Series, with a solid 3.589-second edge over second-placed Kohei Hirate on the Nurburgring circuit. Kazuki Nakajima, third, took his fourth straight...
Javier Villa followed yesterday's victor, Timo Glock, as the second two-time winner in the 2007 GP2 Series, with a solid 3.589-second edge over second-placed Kohei Hirate on the Nurburgring circuit. Kazuki Nakajima, third, took his fourth straight podium position.
Villa, who won his first race at Magny-Course earlier this season, started on the ple position courtesy of his eighth-place finish in yesterday's first race. At Magny-Cours, too, he had started on the front row, from second place based on a seventh-place finish in the first race..
"It was a little bit difficult at the start," Villa recalled. "But we started really good, and then when Zaugg went in behind I knew that we are quicker: when he went off I don't know, because I don't know how quick are the other guys, but we continued and no one was quicker than me, so we could relax a little bit."
The start may have been challenging for Villa, but he certainly made it look easy. Beating second-place starter Adrian Zaugg into the first turn with ease, the young Spaniard pulled away with a sense on inevitability, and was never seriously challenged throughout the race.
Zaugg, though, was under pressure immediately. A hesitant start allowed Hirate -- who had passed teammate and third-place starter Pastor Maldonado into the first turn -- to catch up to the South African, and to begin applying pressure.
Behind them, it was Nakajima, Lucas Di Grassi and Giorgio Pantano making up the top seven. Pantano had made another outstanding start from the fifth starting position, but overshot the braking point into the first turn, losing the positions he had gained and one more.
Pantano, not one to sit back and wait, went back on the attack immediately, pushing de Grassi hard, hoping for a mistake from his fellow Italian. Unfortunately for the blameless de Grassi, that push became literal, as Pantano made contact with his rival, allowing Glock to make his way past the two.
Glock then turned his attention to Nakajima, who was stuck behind Maldonado, but could not quite keep up with the duo's pace. That gave Nakajima the opportunity to focus his attention on offence, and getting past Maldonado, which he accomplished on lap 15.
"In this track it is a little bit difficult to overtake so I didn't expect too much for today's race," Nakajima said. "I had a good start and after that I could gain the one position and in the beginning Glock was behind and he looked pretty good and so I had some pressure from him but I don't know why after that he started to lose the pace so I could concentrate on Pastor."
Meanwhile, Hirate's pressure on Zaugg eventually resulted in a mistake at the hairpin, and Hirate moved into second place as Zaugg spun off into the gravel trap on lap 15.
"I was behind Zaugg for a couple of laps, and I was always trying to find the chance for the overtaking and then I found some places where he is weak," Hirate recounted. "Then he made a mistake at the hairpin so I went inside of the corner and we hit at the exit because he tried to cover the inside, and then suddenly he went out and I had a small problem because he hit me in the tyres."
The tables were then turned on Hirate, as he went from pursuer to pursued, with Nakajima applying relentless pressure for the remaining nine laps. Hirate kept his cool, though, and earned his career-best GP2 result by a margin of 0.467 seconds over his countryman. Maldonado was not able to keep up with the his two Japanese rivals, and was nearly four seconds adrift of Hirate at the finish, with Glock -- elevated to fifth after Zaugg's demise -- taking the two points. Di Grassi salvaged the final point, ahead of Pantano.
The result extends Glock's lead over Di Grassi atop the championship standings to seven points, 53 to 46. With Luca Filippi -- third in the standings -- out of the points this afternoon and Maldonado back in fourth, the biggest gainer in the championship was Nakajima, who moved into a tie for fourth place with Maldonado at 25 points. Villa is in eighth place, behind Senna.