Max Chilton clinches maiden GP2 victory in nail-biting feature race
Chilton fends off the charging DAMS of Valsecchi in an enthralling conclusion
British driver Max Chilton has narrowly clinched his maiden GP2 victory after a tremendously nail-biting conclusion to the feature race around the Hungaroring. Championship contender Davide Valsecchi finished only six tenths behind the Briton in 2nd, with Championship leader Luiz Razia 3rd for Arden International.
At the start, Max Chilton stormed into the lead ahead of the usual melee of cars. Miraculously, no major incidents occurred as the GP2 field negotiated the exceedingly tight and tricky Hungaroring circuit. However, once the opening lap had been completed, Rodolfo Gonzalez and Rio Haryanto came together through turn 1. Luckily both were able to continue, albeit with Gonzalez suffering a puncture.
Sergio Canamasas was issued a drive-through penalty, as the Spaniard exceeded the track limits on the opening lap whilst negotiating turns 6 and 7. The Venezuela GP Lazarus driver served his penalty immediately, and resumed racing towards the back of the pack.
Johnny Cecotto jr. became the first retirement of the race, as the Venezuelan driver went straight on at turn 1 and embedded his car in the tyre barrier. With a plume of smoke billowing from behind him, it looked as though the previous GP2 race winner frantically tried to slow the car down before impact.
Luckily the safety car was not called upon, as the race continued uninterrupted. By lap 8, Josef Kral became one of the first drivers to make a scheduled pit-stop, switching from the super-soft compound the medium compound. Whilst all this was going on, Rodolfo Gonzalez’s weekend got worse as the Venezuelan driver was issued a drive-through penalty for causing the collision with Haryanto.
As the race progressed, drivers further up the order began to make their scheduled pit-stops. Felipe Nasr endured a frustratingly slow stop, as the Brazilian mistakingly spun his wheels whilst stationary, thus disallowing his mechanics the opportunity to change his tyres quicker. Eventually, on lap 13, the leading duo of Max Chilton and Davide Valsecchi pitted together as Esteban Gutierrez assumed the lead. Chilton and Valsecchi resumed racing in the same order as before, with Chilton slightly ahead of the charging Italian.
Esteban Gutierrez then led for several laps, with Stefano Coletti close behind. Eventually the pair pitted on lap 22, with the Gutierrez loosing at lot places in the process. The Mexican driver resumed the race in 12th place, and began a surge through the field with the aim of finishing at least 8th and reverse grid pole for tomorrow.
Simon Trummer then assumed the lead, with the Swiss driver also yet to stop. Whilst the Arden International driver led out front, Championship rivals Davide Valsecchi and Luiz Razia raced side-by-side as they battled for 4th place. Miraculously they both managed to avoid a collision, as the DAMS of Valsecchi retained position.
Once Julian Leal and Simon Trummer had pitted, Max Chilton once again took the lead ahead of Valsecchi and Razia. As the Italian driver gradually reeled in leader Chilton, Victor Guerin and Sergio Canamasas spun through turn 12 in separate incidents. Both were able resume racing, with other drivers picking their way through the melee.
Felipe Nasr became the next retirement, suffering a similar fate to Johnny Cecotto jr. The Brazilian driver ran straight on at turn 1, however unlike Cecotto the DAMS driver was able to avoid contact with the barriers. Josef Kral also retired from the race, with what looked like a mechanical issue on the car. The Czech driver slowed through turn 3, and was nearly collected by the charging pack of cars close behind.
As the race came to an enthralling conclusion, Davide Valsecchi was unable to overtake Chilton for the victory. This enabled the 21-year-old Briton to cross the line to take his maiden GP2 victory, only six tenths ahead of Davide Valsecchi. Esteban Gutierrez finished 8th, and will therefore start tomorrow’s sprint race from pole thanks to the reverse grid rule.
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|01.||Max Chilton||Carlin||37 laps - 59m02.965s|
|03.||Luiz Razia||Arden International||+1.538|
|04.||James Calado||Lotus GP||+4.090|
|05.||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham Racing||+8.070|
|06.||Jolyon Palmer||iSport International||+10.805|
|07.||Nathanaël Berthon||Racing Engineering||+16.236|
|08.||Esteban Gutiérrez||Lotus GP||+16.826|
|09.||Fabio Leimer||Racing Engineering||+17.794|
|10.||Stefano Coletti||Scuderia Coloni||+19.176|
|11.||Fabio Onidi||Scuderia Coloni||+28.116|
|13.||Simon Trummer||Arden International||+35.069|
|14.||Nigel Melker||Ocean Racing Technology||+35.458|
|15.||Daniel de Jong||Rapax||+37.861|
|16.||Julian Leal||Trident Racing||+44.080|
|17.||Stéphane Richelmi||Trident Racing||+44.267|
|19.||Marcus Ericsson||iSport International||+64.364|
|20.||Giancarlo Serenelli||Venezuela GP Lazarus||+104.003|
|21.||Victor Guerin||Ocean Racing Technology||+1 lap|
|22.||Sergio Canamasas||Venezuela GP Lazarus||+1 lap|
|23.||Rodolfo Gonzalez||Caterham Racing||+1 lap|
|24.||Josef Kral||Barwa Addax Team||DNF|
|26.||Johnny Cecotto||Barwa Addax Team||DNF|
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