GP2 Catch-up: Hockenheim

I tell you what, it was really refreshing to watch an open-wheel race without sitting here tapping out a load of notes about it. I did find my concentration lapsing, my short attention span causing me to drift away. I’m not sure if this is because the race was so old (July), because I don’t care enough about the participants this year, or because I’m now used to note-taking during the racing.

This is a short summary of the two races.

Feature Race
This was fairly tedious most of the way through, the drivers just couldn’t make a pass work. I swear there was more passing in the F1 race the next day and that NEVER happens with GP2. There was the odd good move but it was pretty much decided in the pits and a faultless drive from Romain Grosjean – until the rain fell with just 5 laps remaining. Chaos!
Senna and di Grassi, who were running about 5th, took to the pitlane for wet tyres and fell some 25 seconds behind the remaining leaders including Grosjean and Pantano, who stayed out and tried to hang on.
The rain held at one end of the circuit, yet it was fairly dry at the other end (at the pits). The race became a question of whether the guys who stopped would catch the guys who didn’t – and whether the latter would spin out – before we ran out of laps.
Several drivers spun out, most of whom were on dry tyres, but Grosjean and Pantano held on to finish 1st and 2nd respectively. I believe the top wet-shod finisher was Senna in 4th. Parente was 3rd and I can’t recall if he pitted or not.

The result was short-lived as Grosjean was later given a time penalty for overtaking under yellow flags during the wet-weather period – and there were a lot of yellow flags. The penalty reversed the top two positions giving Pantano maximum points (inc. fastest lap).

Sprint Race
Sunday’s race was more eventful with some good moves both at the hairpin, and at the Mercedes… err… bit. It stayed dry throughout so it looks like several guys made some good calls on setup.
The best drive of the day was Mike Conway who after a dreadful Feature race had to start this one from 24th. He finished 9th without the aid of the Safety Car!
Giorgio Pantano was out early with a broken steering arm after a hit with Soucek. Lucas di Grassi was out shortly afterwards when Maldonado used him as a brake at the hairpin. This was time for the others to claim valuable points.

Karun Chandhok put in a very good drive against Andi Zuber to claim a deserved win, with Senna fighting up to 3rd and Grosjean 4th.
There was some pretty good racing throughout the field, which didn’t spread out as much as it often does. I wonder if that was down to the lack of pit stops in the sprint?

I won’t detain you with the points standings for a 3-month old race but I would like to keep posting these little summaries until I complete the season. I’m considering covering A1GP in the same way which I’ll only begin when I’ve done GP2. I haven’t decided on GP2 Asia yet, last year’s Asia series was so dull I’m not too bothered about it.

Come back soon for my preview of F1’s Japanese Grand Prix featuring green grooves!

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