Maldonado blazes to victory
Venezuelan dominates feature race in Istanbul
Pastor Maldonado has pulled out a crushing, lights to flag domination of his rivals to record an easy victory in today’s feature race in Istanbul, leading home Davide Valsecchi and Sam Bird by almost 20 seconds to put himself in the driver’s seat in this year’s championship.
The Venezuelan didn’t put a wheel wrong all race, pushing across on slow starting poleman Valsecchi when the lights went out to claim the inside line for turn one and then pulling out a string of fastest laps as he disappeared from view.
Behind the pair a charging Oliver Turvey was held up by them, giving Sergio Perez and Bird an easy line through as they climbed the hill away from the pits. Perez was soon filling Valsecchi’s mirrors and pushing him all over the circuit, with Bird playing a waiting game as they jostled for position ahead of him.
Deciding discretion is the better form of valour Bird came in early in an attempt to jump the pair after the stops, but both drivers had enough experience to see the trap coming and pitted next time by, with the Mexican gaining the advantage with a rapid stop to lead the pair from thereon.
Maldonado had a drama free pitstop before returning to extend his lead even further as Perez held his rivals at bay, but the action was further back as Turvey compounded his problems with a penalty for weaving to protect his place, and then another for speeding during the ensuing drive through, while Giacomo Ricci valiantly fought to hold off the charging Racing Engineering pair of Dani Clos and Christian Vietoris.
At the end of the race tyre strategies came to the fore: Ricci was finally tapped into a spin by an impact with Vietoris, while both Coloni drivers went off at the end of the back straight, but the biggest impact was on Perez, who was unable to stop Valsecchi sliding through at the final complex to record a satisfying, if distant, second place to Maldonado, while Bird’s pressure also paid off with 2 laps remaining to claim P3 at turn five.
The Mexican then fought like a lion to hang on ahead of teammate Giedo van der Garde for the closing laps to claim fourth place, with Luiz Razia right behind the pair in sixth. Michael Herck also made a late race leap to push by Vietoris for seventh place, but the race of the day had to be race winner Maldonado, who was on a different planet to his rivals today to lead the championship with 26 points, four ahead of nearest rival Perez, with Clos on 15 points and Razia on 14.
|03.||Sam Bird||ART Grand Prix||+23.327s|
|04.||Sergio Perez||Barwa Addax||+25.953s|
|05.||Giedo Van der Garde||Barwa Addax||+26.129s|
|08.||Christian Vietoris||Racing Engineering||+36.719s|
|09.||Dani Clos||Racing Engineering||+41.469s|
|10.||Max Chilton||Ocean Racing||+48.582s|
|14.||Fabio Leimer||Ocean Racing||+1m06.801s|
|16.||Josef Kral||Super Nova||+1m22.464s|
|17.||Rodolfo Gonzalez||Arden International||+1m23.789s|
|22.||Marcus Ericsson||Super Nova||DNF|
|23.||Charles Pic||Arden International||DNF|
|24.||Jules Bianchi||ART Grand Prix||DNF|
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