Rosberg Leads 1-2 in Race One
|By David Cameron||Saturday, July 23rd 2005, 14:39 GMT|
Nico Rosberg destroyed the field in race one at Hockenheim, finishing 14.6 seconds ahead of teammate Alex Premat and Nelson Piquet to lead home an ART one-two, the first for any team in the GP2 series.
Rosberg had a strong start from pole to lead fellow front row starter Scott Speed, who was slow away, through turn one, while Premat was side by side with the American before yielding second at the next turn.
Behind them Piquet also had a good start, moving up from eighth on the grid to fifth and starting his charge up the field. The grid was clumped together for much of the first lap, and the inevitable happened at the hairpin when Ferdinando Monfardini slowed, causing Fairuz Fauzy to run over his rear tyre and Xandi Negrao to break his suspension after being left with nowhere to go.
The safety car was called for but stood down as the Brazilian's broken car was removed in time, allowing everyone to get through the tricky corner cleanly next time around. Neel Jani and Heikki Kovalainen were in to the pits just in case, with the Swiss driver coming out on top after they exited together.
Back at the front Rosberg was flying, taking the fastest lap of the race with a lap time that was not going to be beaten and stretching out a gap back to second. Gimmi Bruni, however, was having a tougher day at the office - he was into the pits a number of times before stopping, losing most of the race there before rejoining towards the end.
Kovalainen was pushing Jani hard for 12th position, and the pressure paid off when he was through and gone on lap six at the hairpin, with teammate Nicolas Lapierre trying but failing to follow him through.
Giorgio Pantano, Alex Premat and Olivier Pla all stopped around this time, with Pantano just ahead of Kovalainen. Jani was unable to stay with the Finn, however, as cruel luck forced him back into the pits for good on lap ten.
At the front of the race the order now was Rosberg and Speed, with Ernesto Viso and Borja Garcia, both defying the odds and running strongly after their good qualifying performances yesterday, moving up after Piquet went in for his stop.
It was to last for one lap - on lap 12 Rosberg, Viso and Garcia all came in for their stops, handing the lead to Speed for two laps before the American also came in. He rejoined just behind Premat for third, and the chase was on.
Speed hounded Premat for second position, sitting on the Frenchman's tail for lap after lap but not looking to make a move. It was Speed's modus operandi - he has spent a number of races this year sitting behind a driver and waiting for the pressure to force him through, but the Frenchman was equal to the challenge and looked solid in front of him.
All of which meant two things - Rosberg was able to pull away even further from his teammate out in front, and behind them in fourth Piquet was able to close the gap to the pair, adding some more spice to the grouping.
Further back Kovalainen, who had also been piling on the pressure to the man in front, Giorgio Pantano, saw his opportunity on lap 22 and he took it - the Finn was through at the hairpin and streaked away, with Viso behind him but unable to follow him through.
Meanwhile the gap between Speed and Piquet was tumbling, and Piquet had no intentions of sitting and waiting for a gap. On lap 34 the Brazilian was close enough that when Speed ran slightly wide at turn one he was beside him into the corner.
Speed pushed back strongly, running Piquet across the track, but the Brazilian had the momentum and was cleanly by and chasing Premat for second.
There weren't enough laps to make a move, however, and with a dominant Rosberg through almost fifteen seconds previously, Premat, Piquet and Speed crossed the line almost nose to tail to round out the podium.
Behind them Kovalainen led Pantano, Viso and Garcia through for the final points paying positions, with Pla 0.3 seconds behind Garcia but unable to take his second Sunday pole in succession, while in the pitlane the ART team were ecstatic at yet another commanding performance by their drivers.
CLASSIFIED: Pos Driver Team Time 1. Rosberg ART Grand Prix 59:30.442 2. Premat ART Grand Prix + 14.642 3. Piquet Jr. Hitech Piquet Sports + 15.378 4. Speed iSport International + 15.854 5. Kovalainen Arden International + 24.644 6. Pantano Super Nova International + 34.531 7. Viso BCN Competicion + 35.113 8. Garcia Racing Engineering + 41.323 9. Pla DPR + 41.716 10. Lapierre Arden International + 48.090 11. Alvarez Campos Racing + 48.316 12. Sharp DPR + 53.039 13. Yoshimoto BCN Competicion + 69.006 14. Lopez DAMS + 1 LAP 15. Lauda Coloni Motorsport + 1 LAP NOT CLASSIFIED/RETIREMENTS: Driver Team On Lap Bruni Coloni Motorsport 20 Artam iSport International 17 Piccione Durango 15 Jani Racing Engineering 10 Carroll Super Nova International 7 Fauzy DAMS 6 Hernandez Campos Racing 4 Monfardini Durango 1 Negrao Hitech Piquet Sports 0 Fastest Lap: Rosberg, 1:27.672 on lap 3 2005 Championship Standings, Round 7 (Race 12) Drivers: Teams: 1. Kovalainen 68 1. ART Grand Prix 90 2. Rosberg 58 2. Arden International 80 3. Speed 46 3. iSport International 48 4. Carroll 34 4. Super Nova International 47 5. Bruni 33 5. Coloni Motorsport 36 6. Premat 32 6. Racing Engineering 26 7. Lopez 25 7. DAMS 25 = Jani 25 8. Hitech Piquet Sports 25 9. Piquet Jr. 24 9. Durango 13 10. Pantano 13 10. BCN Competicion 12 11. Piccione 12 11. DPR 11 = Lapierre 12 12. Campos Racing 3 13. Pla 9 14. Yoshimoto 8 15. Viso 4 16. Hernandez 3 = Lauda 3 18. Artam 2 = Sharp 2 20. Monfardini 1 = Garcia 1 = Negrao 1