in race two
Venezuelan pips d'Ambrosio for win
Pastor Maldonado outdragged local hero Jérôme d'Ambrosio on the long top straight on the last lap of this morning's race two at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit to claim victory after a superb race for both men in changeable weather conditions, with Vitaly Petrov just holding on to fill the final podium position.
D'Ambrosio looked to have done enough to take his home win but Maldonado's came out on top after blasting by a string of drivers to move up from P6 on the grid to first as the chequered flag dropped. Once again the rain came with the drivers sitting on the grid, but after a few anxious moments the entire field decided to risk taking the start on slicks as the rain let up.
Polesitter d'Ambrosio made a conservative start but did just enough to hold on to the lead into La Source while fellow front row man Mike Conway was very slow, allowing much of the grid through led by Andy Soucek and Sébastien Buemi. Further back Luca Filippi and Lucas di Grassi made incredible starts from 19th and 20th respectively, finishing the first lap either side of championship challenger Bruno Senna in 10th and 12th places and looking hungry for more.
The trio were running like a train through their rivals, all the while swapping positions as they went, while up ahead Maldonado easily dispatched Buemi and Vitaly Petrov to put himself on the back of Soucek when impacts with the wall on lap 5 by Conway, Alberto Valerio and Alvaro Parente brought out the safety car to calm everyone down.
Unfortunately it failed to have the desired effect: with the race about to go live once again the grid contracted and Filippi went wide to avoid Senna at the bus stop, with di Grassi and Kamui Kobayashi sneaking past on the inside before the line but Diego Nunes completely caught out by the others and clattering into the Italian at the final corner. D'Ambrosio had the restart under control but yesterday’s race winner Romain Grosjean looked to take advantage of a slow Buemi restart with the old rivals running side by side until the Frenchman touched the kerb and wobbled: Senna had a look on his outside but locked up at the end of Blanchimont and spun, forcing the Brazilian into the pits and retirement. Maldonado and Soucek were having an almighty battle for second, banging wheels but leaving just enough space for each other all the way round the track.
With 2 laps remaining the rain returned slightly, and when Soucek touched the white line and was thrown off track it was a miserable end to a spectacular drive but left the path open for the move on d'Ambrosio and the win, with Petrov absorbing extreme pressure from Buemi late in the race to hold on for third. Di Grassi kept his head to hold on for fifth place, some small reward for yesterday's disappointments and which also handed Campos the lead in the team's championship, while Kobayashi pipped Davide Valsecchi for the final point after the Italian made a spectacular return after his enormous accident of yesterday.
With the driver's championship unchanged at the top Giorgio Pantano leads Senna by 11 points going into the final round at his home circuit of Monza, a happy hunting ground over the years for the Italian, while Grosjean and di Grassi are all square seven points behind Senna on 53 points. With four drivers mathematically in contention, and GP2's reputation for throwing up the unexpected, the Italian round of the championship promises to be unmissable. Spa-Francorchamps –
Race 2 - Driver - Team
1. Pastor Maldonado Piquet Sports
2. Jérôme d’Ambrosio Dams 3.
Vitaly Petrov Barwa Int. Campos Team
4. Sébastien Buemi Trust Team Arden
5. Lucas di Grassi Barwa Int. Campos Team
6. Kamui Kobayashi Dams
7 Davide Valsecchi Durango
8. Karun Chandhok iSport International
9. Javier Villa Racing Engineering
10. Romain Grosjean ART Grand Prix
11. Ho-Pin Tung Trident Racing
12. Michael Herck DPR
13. Carlos Iaconelli BCN Competicion
14. Adrian Valles BCN Competicion
Fastest lap time: Pastor Maldonado (Piquet Sports): 1:58.860 on lap 5
Not Classified Driver Team
Andy Soucek Super Nova Racing
Luca Filippi Trust Team Arden
Marko Asmer Fisichella Motor Sport Int.
Bruno Senna iSport International
Diego Nunes DPR
Alvaro Parente Super Nova Racing
Alberto Valerio Durango
Mike Conway Trident Racing
Roldan Rodriguez Fisichella Motor Sport Int.
Sakon Yamamoto ART Grand Prix
Andreas Zuber Piquet Sports