GP2 Barcelona – Feature race live commentary
A very warm welcome to live text commentary for the first race of the second weekend of GP2 action. The start of the European season is here, and we have a potential cracker on our hands and the Circuit de Catalunya.
Grabbing the 4 points for pole position yesterday was DAMS’ Marcus Ericsson, the Swede hoping to put his miserable start to the year behind him in Barcelona. Next to him is his team mate, Monaco’s Stéphane Richelmi.
The rest of the top 10 looks like this:
3. Felipe Nasr
4. Sam Bird
5. Stefano Coletti
6. Fabio Leimer
7. James Calado
8. Robin Frijns
9. Kevin Ceccon
10. Kevin Giovesi
The cars are on their formation lap just now, Ericsson leading them round the lap.
The cars are in place…the green flag at the rear is waved and the red lights are on…
Race is on!
Great start from Ericsson from pole, he streaks away at the front
Bad start from Richelmi, he locks up into turn one and loses a place
Coletti up to second, ahead of Richelmi
Leimer hits Calado, loses front wing. Calado sweeps across the bow of Leimer, trying to get past slow starting Bird. Leimer misses first corner completely
Caladao drops back a lot in turn three
Nasr barges past Richelmi into turn 5, hits DAMS’ sidepod, gets him into chichane
Richelmi under pressure from Bird lap 2 into T10/11/12
End of lap 2, Calado in the pits and now he’s out with rear suspension damage
Canamasas has massive run on Rosenszweig – Addax cuts him off dramatically down front straight
Lap 4 – Ericsson, Coletti, Nasr, Richelmi, Bird
Dilmann gets past by Berthon at Campsa only to just about outbrake the Frenchman at T10, just avoids contact with rear of Cecotto
Good start from Lancaster, from 15th to 9th
Nasr pulling in Coletti
Crash! Berthon at T10
Yellow flags are out
– Nathanael Berthon has a big crash at T10 – wheel off and front wing/nose damage…
The replay shows Berthon trying to pass Tom Dilmann on the approach to turn 10. He gets blocked, and then goes to outside of Sergio Canamasas. He locks both wheels and climbs over the pair of them, launching him into the air and clattering back down. Canamasas loses rear wing in the process
Both out, Berthon unhurt, walks away.
Frijns, Rossi and Palmer into pits to jump onto the soft tyre option – end of lap 5
Ericsson pulling away at front…Coletti holding pack up behind.
End of lap 6, Bird, Lancaster, Abt and race leader Ericsson into pits
Frijns gets around Sam Bird after pit stop. Just behind Ericsson now
Lap 7 – Dilmann tries a move on Cecotto but is pushed onto grass
End of lap 7 – Coletti, Nasr into pits, as is Richelmi
Lap 8 – Ericsson Frijns Bird Palmer Rossi Coletti Nasr Richelmi
Rossi fastest lap
Palmer gets round Bird as Bird tries to pass out of sequence De Jong at T11/12 complex
Cecotto leads Dilmann and Evans lap 10
Ericsson slows! Retirement!
Ericsson suddenly slows on main straight – he has a problem and pulls off at turn one gravel trap – Again replays show that he made contact with Bird damaging his front suspension – presumably after being held up by Giovesi. Lap 11
Frijns de facto leader, outbrakes Quaife Hobbs into T10 for 4th, as does Bird as Quaife Hobbs struggles on old tyres, gets done by Coletti on straight. Lap 12
Bird pressurising Palmer through Campsa – Cecotto still leads. Bird has a big look round turn one on Palmer, doesn’t quite work out and has to defend big time from Coletti who tries to sneak up the inside of 3.
Lap 15 – Cecotto, Dilmann, Evans, Frijns, Palmer, Bird, Coletti, Rossi
Slight lull in race as the drivers look to preserve their tyres, around lap 17…Nasr dropped back, third in championship was looking to move up.
Lap 18 of 37, Cecotto still lapping faster than chasing pack, as well as Dilmann, not a bad performance from the Arden driver after qualifying 23rd
Dilmann to switch to hard tyres, concentrating on the feature, possibly jeopardising sprint race chances
Slips behind Lancaster to slide outside the points in 13th
Lap 20 of 37 – wind picking up a bit, chasing pack still line astern, Coletti looking a little more dangerous – attacking the back of Bird.
Lap 21 of 37 – Dilmann making progress back up the field again, steaming past Ceccon on main straight. Down the inside of Leimer at turn 5 as chasing pack closes in on Mitch Evans
Daniel Abt after making a decent enough start has dropped all the way down to 17th
Lap 23 of 37 – Dilmann tries an audacious move round the outside of Richelmi but is pushed onto the artificial grass, just stays out of the gravel. (Just confirmed by Will Buxton seconds after I said it!)
Holds a tighter line next time, meanwhile Bird tries a move on Palmer who remains resilient in defence.
Close racing…too close!
Lap 24 of 37 – Dilmann pushes all the way round Richelmi at turn 4, they touch a little bit before the DAMS car touches the right rear of Dilmann and half spins him round into the gravel. They both escape but Dilmann loses 2 spots.
Dilmann having the craziest race of the field so far…has been flown over the top of by Berthon, chased the lead, pitted, passed a number of cars before being hit again and spending some time in the gravel. Back on the move again – Dilmann gets past Ceccon and Leimer once more – lap 25 – never give up!
Frijns still holding onto his tyres, impressive performance. Palmer seemingly doing the same.
Lap 36 – Cecotto pits from lead, rejoins 11th, behind Dilmann. On softs now.
Evans leads now, as Nasr flies onto the back of Coletti and chasing pack. Lap by lap, taking a few tenths out of leaders. Dives down inside of Coletti at 10, running side by side up to and including T11 before ceding the place. Each just giving enough room, excellent racing.
Evans pits, as Frijns takes lead…from Palmer, Bird, Coletti, Nasr, Rossi, Lancaster, Richelmi, Dilmann, Ceccoto – top 10
Leimer back in after having a mare of a race, to change tyres – mandatory.
8 laps to go, top 7 covered by just over 5 seconds
Dilmann moves round Richelmi at T1, giving plenty of room
Lancaster great comeback, hassling Rossi for 6th – finally getting past with 7 to go
Drive through for Richelmi – causing a collision
Bird still chasing Palmer, not close enough
Nasr blasts past Coletti for 4th at Sam Bird corner (T5) outbraking the Monegasque, and sliding him wide.
5 to go and it’s Nasr who is pushing for if not the win, then certainly the podium position. 3rd is his at Sam Bird corner, same move as with Coletti and Bird has no answer.
Meanwhile, Dilmann is past Rossi at T4
Carlin running 2nd and 3rd with Nasr all over the back of Palmer, Nasr moves to the inside of T3 and touches the Brit quite heavy contact– tyre smoke. Palmer defending heavily from Sam Bird round the outside of T5 and touches Bird on the right rear – Bird spinning across the track – dropping down… not quite keeping out of the gravel. Bird out. Lancaster past Coletti…Dilmann closing rapidly.
3 to go…yellow flags out…Lacaster up to 3rd challenging Palmer as Dilmann brilliantly moves round Coletti at T3….!! Fantastic. So much more grip on the hard tyres. Top marks to Dilmann, he has taken almost everything that’s been thrown at him during this race.
2 to go, battle for 2nd…Dilmann round outside of Lancaster, repeat move from previous lap and it works!! Tries to get Palmer but onto marbles exit of T5
Frijns still out in the lead…managing the gap and his tyres
Dilmann on the last lap, tries to get past Palmer in the same move as before…third time unlucky, he runs very wide and loses 2 positions.
Flag falls! Robin Frijns takes victory!
Frijns comes round to win his first GP2 race, in just his second weekend….comfortably in the end by just over 2 seconds.
Nasr second (great comeback from early pitstop, losing positions, overtaking through the field)
Palmer third (from P11 on the grid)
Ceccon 8th – reverse grid pole
Hilmer team gets congratulations from Sauber team boss Monesha Kaltenborn (who of course employs Robin Frijns as reserve driver)
Thanks for joining us for live text commentary of the GP2 Feature Race in Barcelona. Let’s hope tomorrow’s Sprint will be as action packed as this one! Bye for now.
Full race report to follow, tomorrow!