Hockenheim - GP2 - Race 1
Gimmi Bruni has converted his second 2006 GP2 series pole into his second win of the season after a determined and impressive race in which he held off the advances of championship leader Lewis Hamilton to take the chequered flag by just over a
second. The pair were joined on the podium by Timo Glock, who reached third place despite serving a drive thru penalty for speeding in the pit lane.
Bruni led from pole into turn one as second-placed Glock bogged down and caught bags full of wheel spin, dropping him down to fourth behind the Italian, Nelson Piquet Jr and Giorgio Pantano. Piquet and Bruni started pulling away from Pantano, who began to build up a train behind him of Glock, Ernesto Viso, Hamilton and Adam Carroll. As the laps rolled past Glock was doing all he could to regain his lost positions. On lap four he shot up the inside of Pantano at the hairpin and chased off after Piquet whom he caught and passed in the same place 12 laps later. Hamilton meanwhile had passed Viso, and opted for an early stop.
By this point Bruni had a two second lead over the pursuing Glock and Piquet, and on lap 17 the leader pitted, with Piquet following suit. A problem with Bruni’s rear left lost him his two second advantage, and he emerged with Piquet right on his tail. Glock was in two laps later, and after a perfect stop he re-emerged in the lead and at the front of a three-way battle for the lead with Bruni and Piquet. The three of them were covered by just one second.
But the perfect battle was not to last, as both Piquet and Glock were forced to serve drive through penalties for speeding in the pit lane.
The order after their stops left Bruni in the lead, with Hamilton hot in pursuit, Pantano in third, Glock in fourth and Piquet back in seventh behind Carroll in fifth and Viso in sixth. The Brazilian however was in fighting spirit and dispatched Viso in a single lap, taking just a further two to nip past Carroll. He set off after Glock who was reeling in Pantano at a rate of knots. With just seven laps left Glock had caught Pantano, and at turn two the Italian covered his line, only to see Glock power past on the exit having stuck to the standard line. Next lap round and Piquet pulled off the same move after some seriously late braking.
While Hamilton threw all he could at Bruni up front, Piquet was doing everything to get by Glock. On the last lap the pair touched and Piquet’s car slowed and ground to a halt, an apparent fuel issue bringing to an end a gallant race from the Brazilian. Bruni ran home victorious, a second in front of Hamilton with Glock a safe third ahead of his team-mate Viso, Pantano fifth and Carroll sixth. Jose Maria Lopez had driven an unbelievable race from the very back of the grid to finish seventh, while Clivio Piccione picked up the final points slot and pole for tomorrow with eighth. Alex Premat took the point for fastest lap after a tough race which had seen him lapped twice.
Gimmi Bruni, Trident Racing
"I am really happy, especially because I had contact with Nelson at the start and he broke my exhaust. In the last 10 laps I couldn’t use sixth gear, but I held on, drove hard, and came out with the win!"
Lewis Hamilton, ART Grand Prix
"The car felt great for me, and we needed the points. Considering that Gimmi had so many problems, he was extremely quick. I really was extremely impressed with his pace and how he drove."
Timo Glock, iSport International
"I just tried to make the pit stop too perfect and I knew straight away I’d been too fast in the pits. The guys did an awesome job. I wish I could have won for my home fans but there’s always tomorrow."