Di Grassi powers to victory in Hungary

 Brazilian claims first win of the season

Lucas di Grassi  opened his win account for the year in fine form at the Hungaroring on Saturday, taking the lead at the first corner and then holding on despite race long pressure from Andreas Zuber  to  take  the  chequered  flag  by  just  0.7  seconds  to  put  himself  third  in  the  championship, with Bruno Senna rounding out the podium and closing the gap on championship leader Giorgio Pantano.

The win was set up at the start when di Grassi made his now customary storming getaway, along with teammate Vitaly Petrov, while poleman Romain Grosjean was very slow to get started: the Brazilian went inside Zuber at the first turn to claim the lead and tore off down the road with the Russian playing wingman, while Senna's equally impressive start put him up four place to fourth on the first lap, just behind Zuber.

A lap later and Pantano was not waiting around, pulling a move around the outside of Grosjean at turn 4: the pair came together and the Italian was spun around before restarting at the back of the field, while the Frenchman came straight back to the pits to have a flat tyre changed, and Mike Conway managed to sneak through Karun Chandhok for fifth place in the melee.

The pitstop strategy was always going to be vital at this circuit, with many teams heading in early to get some clear air and make up some ground, a move that was short circuited largely by the number of other teams who had the same idea. In fact by the time that Grosjean came in for his more regular stop on lap 15 every driver bar Pastor Maldonado, who started last after failing to make qualifying yesterday but was now running first on the road, had their stops out of the way and it was a straight fight for the flag. Leading  that  challenge  behind  the  Venezuelan  was  di  Grassi,  who  had  Zuber  all  over  his  rear once  more,  but  the  Brazilian  was  equal  to  the  challenge  and  held  on  for  dear  life,  with  Petrov losing out slightly at the stop following on behind them until lap 23, when he sadly retired with a mechanical  gremlin,  handing  the  potential  podium  position  to  Senna. 

Conway  and  Buemi  were equally engrossed in battle, and it was anyone's guess who would come out on top. But when the chequered flag dropped it was di Grassi who was punching the air in delight as he cross  the  line  just  ahead  of  Zuber,  with  Senna  a  further  3  seconds  behind.  Chandhok  finished fourth  after a smart pitstop allowed him to pull away from his earlier fight with Conway, while a smart strategy, a lot of fast laps and a late stop handed Maldonado a strong fifth place, a great reward for an impressive drive. Conway just held on to sixth ahead of Buemi, while Andy Soucek soaked up heavy late race pressure from Jerome D'Ambrosio to claim Sunday's pole position.

And  the  new  race  winner  had  more  reason  to  be  delighted:  while  Pantano  holds  on  to  his championship lead he was unable to add to his 63 point haul, Senna pushed up to 54 points but di Grassi broke into the top three for the first time this year with 38 points, two ahead of his RDD compatriot Grosjean.

GP" Budapest – Race 1 Driver Team

1. Lucas di Grassi Barwa Int. Campos Team

2. Andreas Zuber Piquet Sports

3. Bruno Senna iSport International

4. Karun Chandhok iSport International

5. Pastor Maldonado Piquet Sports

6. Mike Conway Trident Racing

7 Sébastien Buemi Trust Team Arden

8. Andy Soucek Super Nova Racing

9. Jérôme d’Ambrosio Dams

10. Sakon Yamamoto ART Grand Prix

11. Kamui Kobayashi Dams

12. Diego Nunes DPR

13. Javier Villa Racing Engineering

14. Giorgio Pantano Racing Engineering

15. Luca Filippi Trust Team Arden

16. Alvaro Parente Super Nova Racing

17. Romain Grosjean ART Grand Prix

18 Marko Asmer Fisichella Motor Sport Int.

19 Roldan Rodriguez Fisichella Motor Sport Int.

 Fastest lap time: Romain Grosjean (ART Grand Prix): 1:29.793 on lap 17

Not Classified Driver Team Vitaly Petrov Barwa Int. Campos Team Michael Herck DPR Davide Valsecchi Durango Ho-Pin Tung Trident Racing Adrian Valles BCN Competicion Carlos Iaconelli BCN Competicion Alberto Valerio Durango