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Jul 20, 2014 - 03:06 PM
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Nasr Second In Dramatic Hockenheim Sprint Race
Posted by: newsla on Jul 20, 2014 - 03:01 PM
GP2 News
Nasr Second In Dramatic Hockenheim Sprint Race


Felipe Nasr took a stunning second place in today’s GP2 Sprint race at Hockenheim. The Carlin driver gambled on his tyre strategy in a race of mixed conditions, starting the wet race on slick tyres as did team mate Julian Leal. Both drivers dropped down the order as the drivers on wets took advantage in the early stages, but Nasr fought back as conditions improved to challenge for the lead and take second at the chequered flag. Team mate Leal was caught in a chaotic mid-field and came home in 18th place.

 

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A heavy rain shower after the GP3 race and as the GP2 cars prepared for the Sprint race threw the teams’ race strategies into chaos. Despite the rain having stopped, conditions remained treacherous on track, with both spray and standing water making the track slippery. The field were split into two groups, those that started on wets and those that played the gamble to start on slick tyres in anticipation of the track drying out.

Both Nasr and Leal started on slick tyres from their fourth and 16th grid slots. As the lights went out, the drivers on wets had a clear advantage with those drivers on slicks falling instantly towards the back of the grid. Nasr was 17th by the end of lap one while Leal was 24th.

The slick tyre shod cars of Nasr and Leal were helped when the safety car was called out at the end of lap one. With racing action neutralised, the track was drying while the duo were able to hold position. As the racing got underway again, it was still wet enough for the wet tyre drivers to have the advantage but both Carlin men importantly kept their cars on track in the tricky conditions.

Having endured the difficult early stages, Nasr and Leal began to benefit from the drier line. Nasr saw his chance and picked up the pace and was already back up to tenth while Leal was 22nd. Another safety car period ended with 13 laps to go and at the restart Nasr was in the perfect position, making up a handful of positions in just two corners to lie fifth. From then on, Nasr was the man to beat, setting fastest lap after fastest lap, the Banco do Brazil backed driver passed Sorenson for fourth place on lap 15 and was soon on the back of Stoffel Vandoorne for P3.

The battle between Nasr and Vandoorne lasted several corners, with Nasr making it into second with a great move on lap 17, setting another fastest lap in the process. Vandoorne stayed close to Nasr for the next few laps, as the Carlin man closed in on race leader Stefano Coletti. Nasr was flying but Coletti was able to respond. Despite getting the gap down to a second, Nasr couldn’t quite get close enough to make a move and crossed the line in a strong second place.

Leal meanwhile had been involved in drama right to the end, the Colombian found himself in the middle of a battle with the two Arden cars, avoiding a swerving Rene Binder only to be hit by his team mate Andre Negrao. Leal managed to continue however, crossing the line in 18th place. After an unlucky weekend, the Carlin man will be aiming for better fortunes in Hungary in a week’s time.

Speaking about his race, Nasr said, “It was a very tough race and the conditions were very difficult especially in the early laps. I lost a lot of ground and had cars all over me, but I knew I just had to be patient and get heat into my tyres. The safety car helped us out a bit as it gave us time and took away the advantage of those on wets. It was a good race though, I’m very pleased we got on the podium again, a great job from the team.”

The GP2 drivers will be back in action again in just a week’s time in Hungary.


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