The action picks up in Germany this weekend with the GP2 paddock setting up camp at Hockenheim for the sixth round of the year.
We’re already midway through the season and Jolyon Palmer still leads the rest of the pack in the drivers’ standings having scored in every single race in 2014 and qualifying no lower than second all year. His impressive streak has kept even his closest rivals at bay, starting with Williams F1 test driver Felipe Nasr. The Brazilian ace has recorded the most wins this season, but still remains 38 points behind the Briton. Nasr cannot afford any mistake at Hockenheimring and he will also have to keep an eye on Johnny Cecotto. The Venezuelan driver has had one of his most consistent and strongest GP2 seasons so far only failing to score points at Sakhir. Since then, Cecotto has not finished lower than sixth in a race, even pocketing two wins.
But behind the top three, a lot of actors are also eager to spoil their fun and steal their thunder, starting with Silverstone Feature Race winner Mitch Evans who seems to be more and more attuned to his RT RUSSIAN TIME machine. Add to the list Racing Engineering’s duo whose display of pace and strength has not failed to impress, and rookie Stoffel Vandoorne who has already recorded three podium finishes in 2014 - to name a few… All in all, everything is set to draw up an exciting race weekend with the GP2 Series™ celebrating its 200th race on Saturday.
Pirelli will bring the P Zero White medium and P Zero Yellow soft tyres. Hockenheim isn’t one of the most demanding circuits of the year in terms of tyre energy as there are no really fast corners, but traction and braking is critical. This makes looking after the rear tyres in particular an important factor.
Pirelli’s racing manager Mario Isola says: “Hockenheim couldn’t present a bigger contrast to the flat-out corners of Silverstone, where the GP2 teams were last seen in action two weeks ago. Instead, the characteristics are a little more similar to Austria, where the same tyre nomination was made for GP2. These compounds are also well-suited to Hockenheim, although the overall energy going into the tyres is lower. We probably don’t expect to see a massive gap in lap times between the two compounds, but it’s only when the teams get to practice on Friday that they will have a short window to work out the optimal strategies: definitely part of the art of GP2 this year. For many drivers this will be a brand new circuit, so assimilating the information as quickly as possible and being able to react to changing conditions will be vital to success.”
Daniel Abt Hilmer Motorsport: “The biggest challenge of this track is probably the last sector called “Motodrom“. This is where you can make a big difference in time if you get it right and have a good setup. You really need to make sure your car works well in slow speed corners and has good traction as there isn’t a lot of fast corners. The best overtaking spot is at Turn 3 - a tight hairpin after a very long straight. And then, just after the hairpin you have a good chance to fight back into Turn 4.
“Like on any other track, you need to qualify well and then have the right strategy. But at Hockenheim, the weather can be unpredictable and the conditions can change quickly from dry to wet. It will be tricky to make the right call regarding the tyres then.
“My expectations are always high at Hockenheim: I know the circuit very well and I’ve enjoyed a lot of success there. I got my first pole position in GP3 on this track. Last year in GP2, we struggled with the car setup and the pace so there is no better place to turn things around and finally get a good result!”
• This Saturday, the GP2 Series™ will celebrate its 200th race. The first race took place on April 23rd 2005 at Imola and was won by Heikki Kovalainen with Arden International.
• There are two driver changes this weekend:
- Tom Dillmann replaces Alexander Rossi at EQ8 Caterham Racing.
- Alexander Rossi moves to Campos Racing in replacement of Kimiya Sato.
• Takuya Izawa (car #09 - ART Grand Prix) will drop five grid places on the Feature Race starting grid at Hockenheim following a penalty he picked up during Silverstone Sprint Race (causing a collision with Arthur Pic – Campos Racing).
• MP Motorsport will run under a new car livery (cars #20 and 21).
• Hilmer Motorsport and Daniel Abt scored their first point of the season at Silverstone.
• Venezuela GP Lazarus is the only team without a point this season.