Formula Two

GP2 Germany 2012

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    A cracking win by Johnny Cecotto Jnr in the feature race at the Hockenheimring.

    He started 17th on slicks while almost everyone else was on wets. While the rest waited for lap six so they could get their mandatory pit stop out of the way Cecotto was ripping through the field, several seconds per lap quicker as he passed car after car.

    This put Cecotto in the lead with Stephane Richelmi, who had also started on slicks, second.

    Nigel Melker had led at first after passing pole sitter Giedo van der Garde and Fabio Leimer on the first lap. They dropped back after pitting for slicks. Leimer got back up to second ahead of Richelmi at the flag. Felipe Nasr passed van der Garde to finish fourth, Melker was sixth.

    Championship leader Luiz Razia held off James Calado for seventh, Calado taking the reverse grid pole position. Calado had slipped behind Davide Valsecchi earlier on but moved back ahead when the DAMS driver ran wide under pressure.

    Valsecchi ended a dreadful race in 13th place. He was crowded out at the start, losing several places. He then ran into the back of Stefano Coletti, damaging his nose, and had another off after dropping behind Calado.

    He has fallen 12 points behind Razia in the drivers’ championship. In the last six races Valsecchi has scored 18 points to Razia’s 67. With Razia starting Sunday’s sprint race from the front row, things look set to get worse for Valsecchi. Given how strong his position was a few weekends ago it’s a remarkable turnaround.


    I have to admit when I saw those two cars on slicks at the start I thought it would never work out for them, never mind finish first and third. Those early laps with Cecotto slicing through the field and passing eight cars in half a lap were quite incredible as well.

    Melker also had a great first lap defending from Valsecchi at the start and then taking the lead from Giedo van der Garde at the T6 hairpin.

    Prisoner Monkeys

    A cracking win by Johnny Cecotto Jnr in the feature race at the Hockenheimring.

    And people say Cecotto has no business being in a team like Addax.


    @prisoner-monkeys, I haven’t kept a close eye on Cecotto’s this year, but his up-and down performances do raise questions. He’s had two feature-race victories this year, and deserved ones too (as yesterday he was very quick even when everyone else had pitted for slicks), but he’s also spent a lot of time anonymously in the midfield. Is he a really fast driver who, for reasons unclear to the outside, struggles to get the best out of the car, or is he an average driver, who has lucked into the car’s (and tyres’!) sweet spot on a few occasions?

    With regard to the race itself, it seemed to me that the majority of the field was struggling with tyre wear from about halfway through the race (I didn’t see the lap times for final 10 or so laps because the live timing went ‘dead’). I think early in the race (around lap 10 out of 38), many drivers were dipping into the 1m27s, but by the end of the race they were doing 1m30s (can anyone confirm?). With a light car and new tyres, you would expect them to drive around 1m26s by that stage, and time lost in the pits would soon be regained on track. Don’t they have enough tyres to pit for fresh tyres, or do pit stops take too long in GP2? It’s all very well to have degrading tyres, but if you don’t have enough rubber to get through the races, then things get a little silly.

    Prisoner Monkeys

    I have to say, I’m very impressed by Nigel Melker at the moment. After a promising year in GP3, he was absolutely nowhere to begin with at the start of the season, but he’s really come alive in the last three races with fourth in the Silverstone feature races, and sixth places in the Silverstone sprint and Hockenheim feature races. I’m guessing that wet conditions suit him, but I’d like to see him follow through and maybe pick up a front-running drive next year.


    I read an interview with Nigel Melker in Dutch, that claims that his performances earlier this year had more to do with Ocean Racing than with Melker. In Nigel’s words: ‘in stead of working on the car, the engineers much rather took an extra coffee break.’ I really hope that he will be racing with a better team next year, so we will see his full potential.


    @prisoner-monkeys Yeah, those who races in GP3 last year and moved to GP2 for 2012 really are doing well. Especially Calado, obviously, but also Dillmann, Melker and Haryanto on occasions.

    Prisoner Monkeys

    And maybe we’ll see some of the more-competitive GP3 drivers in the category as well. I’m thinking of Evans, Vainio, Laine, Ellinas, Stockinger, Ceccon, Visiou, Niederhauser, Brundle, Buller, da Costa (but he’ll probably stay in Formula Renault) and Pal Kiss. Plus Nasr, Leimer, Palmer, Calado, Gutierrez (if he doesn’t get promoted to Formula 1), Dillmann, Razia, Melker, Chilton, Haryanto, van der Garde, Valsecchi and Cecotto, and the series might just get some credibility back.

    But they need to change the calendar, too. Drop the Bahrain rounds, and go to Montreal and New Jersey.


    I think the GP3 series is twisting the image of driver skills. We have some drivers who are clearly better than their teammates, but Lotus and Arden have a huge advantage. I think Stockinger & Kiss Pal are clearly punching above their weights, Buller had a great wet run in Silverstone, Evans and Vainio are constantly up there, although having the best cars always helps, Niederhauser had some good weekends too, but I dont think all of them can step up, as money always prevails.

    Bradley Downton

    @bag0 – Bullers drive in the second race at Silverstone was phenomenal.


    How many laps did GP3 actually race for this morning? It can’t have been more than 2 or 3 with the rest behind the safety car.


    Good to see Calado get a win in the sprint race, he’s had some miserable luck recently. Without things like his car failure in Silverstone and his botched strategy in Valencia he’d be right in the thick of the championship hunt.

    Perhaps he’ll end up back in it anyway as championship leaders Luiz Razia and Davide Valsecchi scored just eight points between them at the Hockenheimring.

    Both spun at the Spitzkehre during the race, Valsecchi doing so after being tapped by Jolyon Palmer. Palmer and Stefano Coletti received post-race penalties for overtaking Josef Kral under yellow flags which promoted Valsecchi to seventh. Without that he would have failed to score for the fifth time in seven races.

    The yellow flags were out due to Giancarlo Serenelli’s second big crash of the weekend, also at turn 12, where he went off during practice:

    By way of contrast Valsecchi’s rookie team mate Felipe Nasr extended his run of top six finishes with his fourth in a row, finishing third behind Giedo van der Garde.

    So Hockenheim was a pot-boiler as far as the championship is concerned. GP2’s points system is a bit complicated (points for pole and fastest lap are A Bad Thing) but suffice it to say that with 192 points remaining to be won over the remaining eight races it is, quite literally, anyone’s title to win:

    1. Luiz Razia – 171
    2. Davide Valsecchi – 161
    3. Esteban Gutierrez – 129
    4. Giedo van der Garde – 119
    5. James Calado – 116
    6. Fabio Leimer – 95

    Jen Campbell

    I was just really excited that we got live coverage of the GP2 sprint race and near live coverage of the GP3 sprint race on the sunday. Even though it was on pay tv here in Australia, still pretty cool to watch Evans win on live tv :D

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