Frenchman on top in changing conditions
Romain Grosjean improved on yesterday’s podium with a thrilling battle for victory in changing weather conditions in this morning’s sprint race at the Nurburgring, keeping calm and taking advantage of other people’s misfortunes to win from Jules Bianchi and Luca Filippi.
With heavy rain ahead of the race there was no choice but to set up for the wet and hope for the best: when the lights went out Giedo van der Garde made a storming start to split the front row pair of Sam Bird and Dani Clos, but the Dutchman was soon in the gravel, along with his Spanish rival, as the pair retired at turn 3. When Bird spun a lap later the stage was set with Bianchi leading Grosjean ahead of Charles Pic, Esteban Gutierrez and Filippi.
The latter 3 had an intense battle for third place for lap after lap while seemingly everyone else fought over the final point on offer between them, changing positions between them every time they came by the pits. But with the track slowly drying, every team had to make a tough call: come in for slicks, or try to hold on.
Filippi and Pic made the call on lap 11, and although the Frenchman picked up a drive through for his efforts the Italian was soon setting fastest laps and the decision was made. Everyone called their drivers in over the next few laps: Bianchi finally pitted from the lead three laps later and emerged with Grosjean and Filippi on his tail, with the trio slicing through the remaining wet tyre drivers to kick off an intense battle for the lead.
With 2 laps to go Bianchi made a small mistake and cut the chicane, and that was all that was needed: Grosjean sailed through for the victory while Bianchi and Filippi scrabbled for the next step on the podium, both surviving a small impact at turn one to finish second and third respectively. Behind them Christian Vietoris sliced his way through the chaos to finish fourth from P23 on the grid, with Adam Carroll having a lonely race behind him and Max Chilton driving a mature race under enormous pressure to hold off Bird for sixth position.
The result meant that Grosjean extends his lead in the title race to 59 points from van der Garde’s 41, with Pic on 34 points from Bird on 33 and Bianchi on 32 ahead of next week’s round at the Hungaroring in Budapest.
Nurburgring – Sprint race
|2.||Jules Bianchi||Lotus ART|
|3.||Luca Filippi||Scuderia Coloni|
|4.||Christian Vietoris||Racing Engineering|
|5.||Adam Carroll||Super Nova Racing|
|7.||Sam Bird||iSport International|
|10.||Michael Herck||Scuderia Coloni|
|11.||Josef Kral||Arden International|
|12.||Fairuz Fauzy||Super Nova Racing|
|13.||Kevin Mirocha||Ocean Racing Technology|
|14.||Luiz Razia||Caterham Team AirAsia|
|15.||Rodolfo Gonzalez||Trident Racing|
|16.||Marcus Ericsson||iSport International|
|Davide Valsecchi||Caterham Team AirAsia|
|Jolyon Palmer||Arden International|
|Esteban Gutierrez||Lotus ART|
|Johnny Cecotto||Ocean Racing Technology|
|Stefano Coletti||Trident Racing|
|Giedo van der Garde||Barwa Addax Team|
|Dani Clos||Racing Engineering|
|Excluded Charles Pic||Barwa Addax Team|
Fastest Lap : Christian Vietoris (Racing Engineering) – 1:46.494 on lap 23