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“Razia takes GP2 Series lead, as Gutierrez gets lucky again”

July 11, 2012

© GP2 Media Services.

Television Notes
—-
A damp Silverstone proved to be far kinder to Davide Valsecchi’s title hopes than the sunny Valencia.

After a spell of indifferent to poor results, the Italian pulled a podium out of the bag to restart his title campaign, but only after his chief rival Luiz Razia claimed another victory.
Suddenly, the tide has changed and it is Razia who leads going into the next round in Germany.

Beyond that, Esteban Gutierrez continues to patch together his fractured season with another lucky victory, but behind luck lays skill and good timing. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being in the right place at the right time, don’t you know…?

—-
Feature Race
Luck doesn’t seem to be in short supply for Esteban Gutierrez. The Mexican chanced upon a dose of the stuff at a wet Silverstone on Saturday.

Just as he was in Valencia, Gutierrez was running in 2nd; when a safety car period changed the face of the race on lap twenty. Up until that point the feature had belonged to Fabio Leimer, as he spent much of the running escaping from Johnny Cecotto Jr and Jolyon Palmer.
Gutierrez was glued to Palmer for much of the event, with Cecotto not far ahead; however slick work by the Lotus pitcrew on lap 16 (they only changed left-hand side tyres) propelled the Mexican into a net 2nd.

Leimer’s lead – just over 7 seconds prior to the leading stops – would be swept aside when James Calado’s stricken Lotus (near the exit of the pits thanks to a broken gearbox) was deemed to be in a dangerous position.
Having not yet stopped, Leimer’s race was essentially thrown away. His lead gone and a mandatory tyre change due, the Swiss racer would eventually fall to the lower midpack, handing an easy lead to Gutierrez.

Not that the Mexican minded. He probably could have done without the second safety car when an ill-advisedly slick shod Stefano Coletti spun inconveniently at the exit of Becketts.
His stranded machine would also neutralise proceedings, but when the green flag re-emerged with two tours remaining, there was no stopping Gutierrez. Although the Lotus racer had some solid pace, luck was once again on his side. As the race closed, Gutierrez also nabbed the fastest lap.

Cecotto could be reasonably happy with the runner-up spot. The Barwa Addax driver did well to hold his own against a charging Palmer / Gutierrez, although the Venezuelan was clearly second best to Leimer in the wet conditions. Palmer, too, picked up another podium – his second of the season.

Nigel Melker raced to 4th after starting 8th. The Dutch pilot leapt away at the first green flag, with moves on Luiz Razia and Max Chilton signalling his intent.
As Leimer and Calado fell away, the Ocean racing Technology man drew to 4th place and his first points of the season, although Melker had to fight for it late on, as Razia made a late charge for the top four.
Not only did Razia take a credible 5th, the finish also garnered the Arden driver the championship lead; however the drives of the race belonged to DAMS’ pilots, Felipe Nasr (6th) and Razia’s series rival Davide Valsecchi (7th). Despite starting* 23rd (Nasr) and 25th (Valsecchi), both pitted very early and dragged their Pirelli’s until the end, climbing the order through strategy and sheer aggressive overtaking.

Giedo van der Garde assumed 8th and the Sprint Race pole, helped somewhat by a lightning start from 18th (taking six places in three laps), while Chilton fell backward to 9th. Rio Haryanto assumed the final point for Carlin.
The action wasn’t all at the front though, thanks to some embarrassment in the midpack at the beginning. So wet was the track, the race began under safety car; however that didn’t stop Daniel de Jong from clattering into the back of Rodolfo Gonzalez at Copse, essentially taking both out of the running.

* {note 1}
Leimer grabbed pole in a messy qualifying session. Starting out very wet, the session dried up somewhat as the minutes progressed, but it was the Swiss national who grasped the changing conditions best with a fastest nearly one second quicker than Cecotto Jr (2nd) and Palmer (3rd).
Nasr, Valsecchi, Ericsson and Coletti all had their times deleted when they ran out of fuel on track, with the Ericsson / Coletti stoppage bringing out a red flag.

2012 GP2 Round of Britain (Rd 7, Feature Race, 25 laps)
Pos  Driver               Team                    Time/Gap 
 1.  Esteban Gutierrez    Lotus               1h00m22.657s 
 2.  Johnny Cecotto       Addax                   + 1.700s 
 3.  Jolyon Palmer        iSport                  + 5.257s 
 4.  Nigel Melker         Ocean                   + 6.368s 
 5.  Luiz Razia           Arden                   + 6.523s 
 6.  Felipe Nasr          DAMS                    + 7.552s 
 7.  Davide Valsecchi     DAMS                    + 9.051s 
 8.  Giedo van der Garde  Caterham                + 9.841s 
 9.  Max Chilton          Carlin                 + 11.116s 
10.  Rio Haryanto         Carlin                 + 11.958s 
11.  Fabrizio Crestani    Lazarus                + 12.130s 
12.  Nathanael Berthon    Racing Engineering     + 12.843s 
13.  Stephane Richelmi    Trident                + 15.701s 
14.  Fabio Leimer         Racing Engineering     + 16.421s 
15.  Simon Trummer        Arden                  + 16.818s 
16.  Josef Kral           Addax                  + 17.833s 
17.  Victor Guerin        Ocean                  + 18.167s 
18.  Ricardo Teixeira     Rapax                  + 23.183s 
19.  Giancarlo Serenelli  Lazarus                + 24.345s 
20.  Fabio Onidi          Coloni                 + 14.982s* 
21.  Julian Leal          Trident                + 38.351s 
22.  Marcus Ericsson      iSport                 + 39.831s 
23.  Rodolfo Gonzalez     Caterham                + 2 laps 
Retirements: 
     Stefano Coletti      Coloni                   20 laps 
     James Calado         Lotus                    17 laps 
     Daniel de Jong       Rapax                      1 lap

*10-second penalty for passing safety car.

Sprint Race
Razia solidified his position at the top of the GP2 points standings with an emphatic victory in the Sprint Race. In moist conditions, the Brazilian launched away from 4th on the grid, nabbing Valsecchi on the opening lap around the outside Stowe – a statement if ever.
Such was Razia’s determination, the Arden racer had chased down the fast starting Nasr as the second lap unravelled, this time forcing a way by in Brooklands. By the time field powered through Stowe, the Brazilian was leading, having disposed of the difficult van der Garde.

Not that Razia simply ran away with the race. Nasr too had dispatched van der Garde and pressing his countryman and even retaking the lead – if only for a moment – on the eighth lap as the pair see-sawed their way through Village.
For Nasr, his opportunity had been missed. Ever light on his Pirelli’s in the opening third, Razia’s tyres appeared content; Nasr’s fronts however were choppy from the attack – their bite point had passed.

Also suffering from dire tyre wear was van der Garde – something made ever more apparent when Valsecchi merely brushed the Caterham racer aside on lap 8.
Where Razia lifted off to maintain his rubber, Nasr fell to ward the clutches of the feisty Valsecchi and eventually dropped behind his Italian teammate after 14 tours. Valsecchi set off after the new points leader, but he too had taken too much out of his Pirelli’s to mount a decisive challenge, although he had Razia worried for a time.
When the 21-lap distance finally passed, the gap had spread to 5.642 seconds, gifting the ebullient Razia a six-point advantage going toward the next round at the Hockenheimring.

Nasr maintained an excellent 3rd, but managed to just stay ahead of the chaos in his mirrors. Ever present throughout the race was Cecotto Jr – the Venezuelan powered into the top five from 7th, although that became 4th as van der Garde’s pace evaporated completely.
Another to benefit was race one victor Gutierrez. An indifferent start from 8th kept the Mexican stifled for several laps; however an early move on Fabrizio Crestani brought the Lotus racer to the rear of group suffering behind van der Garde. His grip gone, the Dutch pilot held a long, tough defence against Cecotto, Melker, and Gutierrez, while Palmer toggled along.
Urgency kicked Cecotto passed van der Garde early on, but Melker proved less forceful – to his cost. Delayed by the Caterham racer, Gutierrez scythed by Melker on lap 13 and took van der Garde for good measure a lap later.

Uncorked, Cecotto and Gutierrez chased a gripless Nasr; catching the Brazilian for a final three lap battle. Like Melker before him, Cecotto could not force the issue with Nasr, but Gutierrez was not as shy, grabbing 4th at the end of lap 19.
From here, it all went disastrously wrong for Gutierrez. Attempting a similar move on Nasr at Club one lap saw the Lotus man run wide and drop back behind Cecotto, forcing the Mexican to try a ridiculous last ditch move on Cecotto on the final lap at Stowe.
Unable to get around the outside of Cecotto, Gutierrez flew back on track at Club, slamming Cecotto and taking him out.
Gutierrez took 4th, but gained a ten-place grid penalty for the next round – not that Cecotto cared.

Meanwhile Palmer sliced by Melker to assume 5th, while van der Garde’s pace fell off the face of the Earth, allowing Marcus Ericsson into 7th and Fabio Onidi up to 8th.
That was not the end of the action. Going for the final point on the penultimate lap also saw Calado loses his senses when he tried a move around the outside of Chilton through Maggots – both fell off to no one’s surprise, garnering Calado a ten-place grid penalty for Germany.

2012 GP2 Round of Britain (Rd 7, Sprint Race, 21 laps)  
Pos  Driver               Team                   Time/Gap 
 1.  Luiz Razia           Arden                37m28.656s 
 2.  Davide Valsecchi     DAMS                   + 5.642s 
 3.  Felipe Nasr          DAMS                  + 17.775s 
 4.  Esteban Gutierrez    Lotus                 + 19.969s 
 5.  Jolyon Palmer        iSport                + 25.869s 
 6.  Nigel Melker         Ocean                 + 28.600s 
 7.  Marcus Ericsson      iSport                + 31.980s 
 8.  Fabio Onidi          Coloni                + 35.797s 
 9.  Fabio Leimer         Racing Engineering    + 38.127s 
10.  Josef Kral           Addax                 + 40.378s 
11.  Simon Trummer        Arden                 + 40.533s 
12.  Rio Haryanto         Carlin                + 48.471s 
13.  Daniel de Jong       Rapax                 + 54.161s 
14.  Nathanael Berthon    Racing Engineering    + 54.643s 
15.  Ricardo Teixeira     Rapax               + 1m15.967s 
16.  Giancarlo Serenelli  Lazarus             + 1m17.971s 
17.  Julian Leal          Trident             + 1m30.456s
Retirements:
     Johnny Cecotto       Addax                   20 laps 
     Max Chilton          Carlin                  19 laps 
     James Calado         Lotus                   19 laps 
     Giedo van der Garde  Caterham                19 laps 
     Fabrizio Crestani    Lazarus                 19 laps 
     Rodolfo Gonzalez     Caterham                 3 laps 
     Stephane Richelmi    Trident                  0 laps 
     Stefano Coletti      Coloni                   0 laps 
     Victor Guerin        Ocean                    0 laps
2012 GP2 Series points standings (Round 7)
Drivers’ Championship
Pos Driver               Points
 1. Luiz Razia           165 
 2. Davide Valsecchi     159
 3. Esteban Gutierrez    122 
 4. James Calado          95
 5. Max Chilton           95
 6. Giedo van der Garde   93
 7. Fabio Leimer          69
 8. Marcus Ericsson       56
 9. Johnny Cecotto Jr     49
10. Jolyon Palmer         48
Teams’ Championship
Pos Team                 Points
 1. Lotus GP             217
 2. DAMS                 205
 3. Arden International  169
 4. Carlin               122
 5. Racing Engineering   110
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