Di Grassi takes maiden GP2 win
|By Charles Bradley||Saturday, August 25th 2007, 14:35 GMT|
Lucas di Grassi timed his maiden GP2 victory perfectly to take the lead of the championship at Istanbul in Saturday's feature race, but Timo Glock will look back on it as the win that got away.
Glock finished fourth and, having narrowly missed on the points for pole and fastest lap, now drops behind di Grassi in the championship standings by four, having started the day one in front.
Glock looked set to finish ahead of di Grassi, but the German did not pit during an early safety car period - unlike his Brazilian title rival.
Glock's iSport teammate Andreas Zuber (who did pit) hardly helped matters, as he crashed out while on course for victory and trying to pass Roldan Rodriguez.
But Zuber did not really need to do that, as Rodriguez also hadn't pitted. Had Zuber stayed on the track, he would almost certainly have defeated di Grassi.
Zuber leapt into the lead from the start from third on the grid, rocketing between the wheel-spinning front row of Luca Filippi and Glock.
Filippi then spun out of second at the chicane and this, coupled with a first corner pile-up involving Mike Conway, Andy Soucek and Adrian Zaugg, brought out the safety car by lap two.
Zuber led a train of cars into the pits, but this did not include iSport teammate Glock who, like at Barcelona earlier this year, stayed out on track.
Only Xandi Negrao, Rodriguez and Ricardo Risati didn't pit under the safety car, so Zuber rejoined as first of the stoppers in fifth, ahead of di Grassi, Adam Carroll, Giorgio Pantano and Borja Garcia.
At the restart, GP2 debutant Risati quickly fell down the order, but Zuber became frustrated in being unable to find a way past Rodriguez.
After 13 laps of trying, he made a move at the high-speed approach to the final complex but appeared to misjudge his move, or was caught out by where Rodriguez braked, and slithered off the track, bounced across the grass, over the kerbs and into the gravel.
As first Negrao, then Rodriguez and, ultimately, Glock pitted, di Grassi's path was cleared to a first GP2 victory.
Behind him, it was all action. Pantano found a way past Carroll after umpteen laps of trying with a big lunge at Turn 1, but only after they'd swapped places around the Complex a few seconds earlier.
Carroll was then caught by the flying Glock, who rejoined a distant fourth after his pitstop. He reeled in the Northern Irishman on the final lap, and drew alongside in the Complex until Carroll edged him towards the grass approaching the final corner.
With the championship in mind, Glock didn't force the issue, which could have ended in contact.
Garcia finished fifth, ahead of Kazuki Nakajima, Negrao and Karun Chandhok, who will start the reverse grid race from pole.
Classified: Pos Driver Team Time 1. Di Grassi ART Grand Prix 57:11.277 2. Pantano Campos Grand Prix + 1.371 3. Carroll FMS International + 5.830 4. Glock iSport International + 6.163 5. Garcia Durango + 10.183 6. Nakajima DAMS + 10.774 7. Negrao Minardi Piquet Sports + 14.695 8. Chandhok Durango + 19.756 9. Tung BCN Competicion + 20.629 10. Senna Arden International + 22.944 11. Rodriguez Minardi Piquet Sports + 27.227 12. Villa Racing Engineering + 27.589 13. Martinez Racing Engineering + 54.026 14. Tahinci FMS International + 69.504 15. Lapierre DAMS + 75.194 16. Risatti Trident Racing + 92.816 17. Petrov Campos Grand Prix + 1 Lap Not classified: Driver Team Laps Buemi ART Grand Prix 27 Zuber iSport International 20 Hirate Trident Racing 18 Karjalainen BCN Competicion 15 Conway Super Nova International 2 Soucek DPR 1 Filippi Super Nova International 0 Zaugg Arden International 0 Fastest lap: Lapierre, 1:35.551 on lap 34