Spa Francorchamps - GP2 - Race 1
Nicolas Lapierre has taken his second win of the 2007 GP2 season with a dominant display at Spa-Francorchamps. The Frenchman led from his first pole position since 2005 to record a brilliant victory from Luca Filippi and Lucas di Grassi.
Championship leader Timo Glock meanwhile saw his title lead shrink to six points as he stalled at the start and had to make do with a single point for fastest lap.
Nicolas made the perfect getaway from pole position, as Luca bogged down and was immediately passed by Lucas. Behind them, chaos ensued as Bruno Senna, Andi Zuber, Timo and Kazuki Nakajima all stalled.
As Luca scrambled to take second position back again, he ran wide at the first turn, leaving the order Nicolas, Lucas, Adam Carroll, and a recovering Luca in fourth. The top three were covered by just under two seconds for the first seven laps, but at the start of lap eight Lucas saw his moment. He charged up the inside of Nicolas at La Source, but the determined Frenchman held on and maintained his lead in a scintillating dice through Eau Rouge. Adam and Luca meanwhile pitted together, but with the Italian opting to change just his rears while Adam changed all four tyres, their positions were reversed on their exit from the pitlane.
One lap later, and both Nicolas and Lucas came in for their stops. Their teams were faultless and the duo emerged in the same order in which they had entered the pits.
With a lap of heat in their tyres however, Luca and Adam were clearly faster and the Italian swept past Lucas at the third corner, with Adam following him through. When Borja Garcia became the last man to pit on lap 14, the true race order saw Nicolas leading Luca, Adam, Lucas, Mike Conway, Javier Villa, Xandi Negrao and Andy Soucek.
On lap 20, all of Adamís hard work came undone. Having hounded Luca since their pitstops, he took slightly too much curb and spun into retirement. And when Xandi Negrao painfully ground to a halt at the final corner on the penultimate lap, the positions were set.
Nicolas took a glorious win ahead of Luca and Lucas, with Javier fourth, Mike fifth, Andy a brilliant sixth from 18th on the grid for DPRís first points of 2007 and Karun Chandhok seventh. Eighth place and pole for tomorrowís race went to Ho-Pin Tung, the Chinese driver taking BCN Competicionís first points of the season in the process. Timo Glock had endured a solitary race, half a lap down, but his recompense will come in the form of a point for fastest lap which keeps the championship gap at six points going into Sundayís race.
Nicolas Lapierre, DAMS
"Itís very good for me and for the team as well. We won the race in Bahrain but it was the sprint race which is easier to win, this one is a proper one. We got the pole position yesterday and today we were quite fast and I think we had a good strategy. That shows to everybody that we can do it. Obviously itís a bit late, but at least we did it, which is good for me and the team."
Luca Filippi, Super Nova International
"Iím sure we can fix the balance for tomorrow, we can have better traction, and we will have new tyres so Iím very confident and maybe we will have slower guys in front and we can overtake here. It will be a fun race for the spectators again."
Lucas di Grassi, ART Grand Prix
"The start was good off the line. In the first part of the race I was quicker than Nico when he had some problems with oversteer and my car was really good. When we changed the tyres the car went too much understeer, but I had to manage the situation. After Adam went out I was at the same pace as Luca and running third. I decided to stay there and now I am six points off the championship lead and that was the main objective for this race."
Source GP2 Series