Robin Frijns drove a pitch perfect race at Barcelona this evening to assume his first GP2 victory of the season.
The Hilmer Motorsport man took the win ahead of Carlin pairing Felipe Nasr and Jolyon Palmer; however the latter would lose 3rd to the stewards.
Starting 8th, Frijns – the reigning Formula Renault 3.5 champion – stopped at the end the end of the sixth tour, changing to the harder Pirelli tyres.
Emerging from the pits in 18th, the Dutchman edged up the order as tyre strategies evolved around him, eventually rising to 4th as Johnny Cecotto Jr, Tom Dillmann and Mitch Evans ran long first stints.
By lap 27, the road ahead finally cleared, allowing Frijns to claim the win, just 3.3s ahead of the charging Nasr.
For Nasr, runner-up represented an extension of his winless streak in his GP2 career. The Carlin racer initially lost out to Stefano Coletti at the start, however he would barge passed the hesitant Stephane Richelmi to regain 3rd.
Following his lap nine stop for fresh tyres, Nasr’s drove a quiet, conservative race until the latter stages, when his began to come alive. Moves on passed Alexander Rossi (lap 25), Coletti (lap 31) and Sam Bird (lap 33) brought Nasr to the rear of Palmer, but in passing his Carlin stablemate, the pair clashed, damaging Palmer’s floor. Nasr chased after Frijns, closing the gap to 1.7s on the penultimate tour; however the Dutch leader pulled away on the final lap to solidify the result.
It would get no better for Palmer. The Englishman collided with Bird on lap 36, pitching the Russian Time racer into retirement and earning Palmer a 20-second penalty, demoting him to 10th. This marked an unfortunate end to a decent for Palmer, who – like Frijns – pitted early, claiming positions on the road as rivals succumbed to tyre degradation.
With Palmer penalised, GP2 returnee Jon Lancaster took 3rd ahead of Coletti, while Dillmann made his long early stint work to secure 5th, despite being punted off at turn four by Richelmi.
Rossi enjoyed a quiet race to close the top six, just four-tenths up on Kevin Ceccon, while Cecotto Jr’s long opening stint could not match Dillmann’s similar efforts – the Venezuelan was classified 8th. Rio Haryanto took 9th, with the penalised Palmer now in 10th place.
It was not good day for poleman Marcus Ericsson who led in the initial running. Following his stop, Ericsson chanced upon a gaggle of cars in the final corners, resulting in a collision with Bird and Kevin Giovesi. The damage would see Ericsson drop out and would earn Bird a grid penalty for the Sprint race – he will now start 25th.
Nathanaël Berthon also picked up a grid penalty for somersaulting over Sergio Canamasas and Dillmann on lap five.
2013 GP2 Series round of Barcelona (Rd 3, Feature Race; 37 laps) Pos Driver Team Time/Gap 1. Robin Frijns Hilmer 1h00m38.896s 2. Felipe Nasr Carlin + 3.316s 3. Jolyon Palmer Carlin + 12.290s 4. Jon Lancaster Hilmer + 12.609s 5. Stefano Coletti Rapax + 13.329s 6. Tom Dillmann Russian Time + 14.325s 7. Alexander Rossi Caterham + 17.160s 8. Kevin Ceccon Trident + 17.504s 9. Johnny Cecotto Jr Arden + 24.013s 10. Rio Haryanto Addax + 32.024s 11. Daniel Abt ART + 32.823s 12. Mitch Evans Arden + 35.748s 13. Julian Leal Racing Engineering + 39.922s 14. Jake Rosenzweig Addax + 40.999s 15. Stefano Richelmi DAMS + 42.690s 16. Daniel de Jong MP Motorsport + 43.102s 17. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs MP Motorsport + 54.532s 18. Fabio Leimer Racing Engineering + 56.946s 19. Simon Trummer Rapax + 57.935s 20. Rene Binder Lazarus + 1 lap 21. Sam Bird Russian Time + 4 laps Retirements: Kevin Giovesi Lazarus +26 laps Marcus Ericsson DAMS +27 laps Sergio Canamasas Caterham +32 laps Nathanael Berthon Trident +33 laps James Calado ART +36 laps
2013 GP2 Series round of Barcelona (Rd 3, Feature Race) Pos Driver Points 1. Stefano Coletti 76 2. Felipe Nasr 66 3. Fabio Leimer 54 4. Sam Bird 33 5. Robin Frijns 25 6. James Calado 24 7. Alexander Rossi 23 8. Jolyon Palmer 23 9. Tom Dillmann 22 10. Jon Lancaster 17 Pos Team Points 1. Carlin 89 2. Rapax 84 3. Racing Engineering 64 4. Russian Time 55 5. Hilmer Motorsport 44