Feature Race (July 30th)
Romain Grosjean powered to yet another Feature Race victory at the Hungaroring, at the expense of iSport’s Marcus Ericsson.
The DAMS racer spent much of the race chasing Ericsson for the lead when the Swede was hit with a drive through penalty, gifting the victory to the championship leader.
Charles Pic ran Grosjean hard for a brief period, settling into 2nd place come the chequered flag. Caterham AirAsia’s Luiz Razia completed the podium.
A stunning start by Ericsson propelled into an instant lead, jumping ahead of poleman Razia despite some forceful defending from the Brazilian.
With a lead of over six seconds, both Ericsson and Razia stopped on lap seventeen, only for the Swede to be released into the path his rival as the trundles down the narrow lane. The ensuing penalty dropped Ericsson to 6th.
Both Grosjean and Pic had stopped one lap earlier, leaving them to attack the circuit on fresher rubber. The advantage – although brief – was enough to see both jump Razia, although the earlier stopping Luca Filippi split the pair for a time, allowing Grosjean an extra advantage.
Filippi pressed Grosjean hard as he attempted to fight back following a poor start (dropping from 2nd to 7th off the line), however the Italian would soon suffer the effect of ageing Pirelli’s.
As the race aged, both Pic and Razia reeled Filippi in with the Italian being increasingly stripped of tyre grip. With six laps to go, Pic made the decisive move, grabbing 2nd spot, with Razia passing one lap later.
Filippi continued to haemorrhage positions in the final tours, as both Giedo van der Garde and Ericsson also demoted the Coloni driver to 6th at the flag.
Van der Garde had to first dispose of iSport’s Sam Bird before he could chase Filippi. Like Filippi, Bird stopped early, only for his Pirelli’s to suffer badly later, forcing the Briton to stop again.
Jules Bianchi couldn’t quite take Filippi, leaving the Lotus-ART man to claim 7th. It was a solid recovery for the Italian who dropped to 8th at the start, losing a further two positions at the pitstops. A late charge helped Bianchi take Bird, Fabio Leimer and Dani Clos.
Christian Vietoris also took the Bird / Leimer / Clos trio in the latter stages to finish 8th, as they succumbed to dead tyres nearing the close of the race.
2011 GP2 Round of Hungary (Rd 7, Feature Race, 38 laps) Pos Driver Team Time / Gap 1. Romain Grosjean DAMS 1:00:36.334 2. Charles Pic Barwa Addax +2.641 3. Luiz Razia Caterham AirAsia +8.107 4. Giedo van der Garde Barwa Addax +15.161 5. Marcus Ericsson iSport +18.864 6. Luca Filippi Scuderia Coloni +21.636 7. Jules Bianchi Lotus-ART +24.831 8. Christian Vietoris Racing Engineering +35.059 9. Josef Kral Arden +43.516 10. Dani Clos Racing Engineering +46.289 FL. Sam Bird 1:32.950
Sprint Race (July 31st)
Stefano Coletti won a topsy-turvy GP2 Sprint Race at the Hungaroring, beating the duelling Esteban Gutierrez and Romain Grosjean to the flag by over seven seconds.
Despite constantly changing weather conditions, Coletti stayed on slicks for the first nineteen laps, braving the greasy and damp conditions, eventually promoting his Trident entry from 21st on the grid to 1st by two-thirds distance.
Coletti was helped somewhat when original race leader Christian Vietoris spun in front of a startled Grosjean, gifting the Monegasque driver two spots in one go.
However as the rain returned with five laps remaining, a late change to wets under safety car conditions sealed the victory for the Trident racer.
Gutierrez also benefited from a late tyre stop. The Mexican who started 24th, kept his head in the early stages, quietly moving up the order as others slid or spun off.
The former GP3 Champion had reached the top twelve as the final dash for the flag commenced, taking an amazing nine places in two laps as the race entered the last three tours.
Committed to taking 2nd spot, Gutierrez pressed Grosjean hard, eventually grabbing 2nd spot exiting the final corner, while the Championship leader faltered. As the crossed the line, Gutierrez’ advantage measured just 0.108 of-a-second.
Giedo van der Garde spent much of the running bouncing up and down the top ten. The Dutch pilot ran 2nd behind Vietoris early on, losing out when he stopped twice for tyres, dropping him down to 9th.
A hard charge in the closing laps propelled van der Garde to 4th, despite fierce pressure from Jules Bianchi (Lotus-ART) and iSport’s Sam Bird.
Bird, too, enjoyed a top race after starting on wets in 17th, climbing to 10th after the opening lap. A brief mid-race stint on slicks gave Bird 5th, before changing back to wets; although a slight clash with van der Garde damaged his front wing.
Bianchi claimed the last point’s spot after an eventful race, which saw him run wheel-to-wheel with van der Garde, resulting in a spin for the Frenchman.
Charles Pic and Davide Valsecchi held the front when the race restarted on lap 20; however they found to their dismay that dry tyres do not mix on a wet track – the pair fell to 13th and 14th respectively.
Early leader Vietoris fell to 17th after his spin in front of Grosjean damaged his front wing. The German climbed back up to 10th at the flag, but that counted for little after the race was run.
A gamble by Carlin’s Max Chilton brought out the first safety car. Stopping for dry Pirelli’s early on, the Englishman spun off three corners later, clouting the barrier. With the track blocked, the race was briefly neutralised. Another spin and track blockage – this time by Dani Clos – brought out the final safety car.
Another win and a podium for Grosjean went a very long way to finishing the title off for the DAMS pilot. With two rounds remaining, the French / Swiss pilot led the field by 25 points; however his DAMS squad still lingered behind Barwa Addax in the Teams’ Championship.
2011 GP2 Round of Hungary (Rd 7, Sprint Race, 23 laps) Pos Driver Team Time/Gap 1. Stefano Coletti Trident 45:53.864 2. Esteban Gutierrez Lotus-ART +7.293 3. Romain Grosjean DAMS +7.401 4. Giedo van der Garde Barwa Addax +11.595 5. Sam Bird iSport +14.524 6. Jules Bianchi Lotus-ART +16.646 7. Luiz Razia Caterham AirAsia +17.153 8. Kevin Mirocha Ocean Racing Tech. +17.840 9. Rodolfo Gonzalez Trident +19.602 10. Christian Vietoris Racing Engineering +32.077 FL. Romain Grosjean 1:47.730 2011 GP2 Series (Rd 7) Drivers’ Championship Pos Driver Points 1. Romain Grosjean 74 2. Giedo van der Garde 49 3. Charles Pic 42 4. Jules Bianchi 35 5. Sam Bird 35 Teams’ Championship Pos Team Points 1. Barwa Addax 91 2. DAMS 74 3. iSport 60 4. Lotus-ART 49 5. Caterham AirAsia 49