Pantano storms to feature race victory

Italian powers through field for win

Giorgio Pantano has laid down a huge marker to the rest of the grid after exploding past his rivals to steal an incredible victory ahead of Lucas di Grassi and Karun Chandhok.

The Italian started from fifth on the grid, but kept his head while all around him the others were losing  theirs,  managing  his  tyres  and  timing  his  challenge  to  perfection  to  take  the  win  from  di Grassi, who looked certain to claim his first win of the season until Pantano took it from him with six laps to go and then sailed serenely on to the chequered flag.

Bruno  Senna  led  the  grid  away  well  from  pole  position,  with  di  Grassi  easily  muscling  his  way past Romain Grosjean into Stowe, but 3 laps into the race Senna made a mistake when he went too deep and undid all of his good work as his rivals streamed past: the Brazilian was soon back up to speed but with fierce battles all around him he had to fight hard just to hold position.

Kamui Kobayashi came in for his customary early stop, coming out into clean air and running a string of fastest laps to maintain his position at the head of the list of drivers who had stopped, but all  eyes  were  on  the  battle  at  the  front  as  di  Grassi,  Grosjean,  Pantano,  Andreas  Zuber  and Senna squabbled for a way by each other: Grosjean was the first of the front men to stop, coming out just ahead of the Japanese driver, with Pantano re-emerging on his tail a lap later and the two Brazilians narrowly avoiding contact in the pit lane and di Grassi holding on, just, to the top spot.

Unfortunately for Kobayashi his hard work was undone by a mechanical gremlin a few laps later, but ahead of him Pantano was piling on the pressure to Grosjean, who was locking up all around the  circuit  before  finally  circuming  to  the  inevitable  pressure  and  relinquishing  second  after banging wheels into Abbey: di Grassi was now 3.7 seconds ahead of the Italian but Giorgio was on  a  mission,  running  a  string  of  fastest  laps  to  put  himself  onto  the  rear  wing  of  the  Brazilian driver.

Behind them was another battle royale, with Zuber, Chandhok and Senna running like a train up to the rear of Grosjean, whose tyres were already worn out: with Sébastien Buemi soon piling on the  pressure  the  five  drivers  were  swapping  positions  almost  corner  by  corner,  with  Chandhok finally able to shake off Grosjean and move up the road while the Frenchman struggled intently to hold back the others.

Back  at  the  front  it  was  Pantano  who  swooped  across  the  line  to  take  the  chequered  flag  four seconds  ahead  of  di  Grassi,  who  nevertheless  held  on  for  a  solid  second  position  ahead  of  a delighted Chandhok.

Behind them Buemi just managed to clear the fight for fourth, with Grosjean and Senna finishing in that order after swapping positions right up until the flag, while Zuber and Luca Filippi rounding out the points positions just behind them.

But it was Pantano who had all eyes upon him as he sprayed the champagne on the top step of the podium, delighted to have claimed his third win of the season with a magnificent driver in a chaotic  event  to  extend  his  championship  lead  to  46  points,  13  ahead  of  nearest  rival  Senna, while Buemi holds on to third position with 25 points, just two points ahead of Grosjean in fourth.


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