The Circuit de Catalunya hosted the first races of the GP2 season this weekend – events which saw Renault tester and Campos driver Romain Grosjean establish an early championship lead and become the man to beat.
However series debutant Eduardo Mortara was also able to make his mark with a sprint race win after taking pole position on the reversed grid.
Here’s the detail of what happened and how it kicks off the championship race:
Grosjean takes season’s first points
In qualifying Grosjena took the first points of the 2009 season by claiming pole position ahead of Racing Engineering’s Lucas di Grassi and team-mate Vitaly Petrov.
Grosjean’s fastest lap was 1:27.510, set early in the session – just 0.021 in front of di Grassi, with Petrov five tenths further back.
Just behind the top three were ART’s Nico HÃ¼lkenberg, FMI’s Andreas Zuber, Super Nova’s Luca Filippi, DAMS’ Jerome d’Ambrosio and iSport’s Diego Nunes, although Filippi lost three grid spots on the grid as a result of a penalty from this morning’s practice.
Pole position provides race win
Grosjean capitalised on his pole position to win the feature race in a one-two for his Campos team as Petrov crossed the finish line ahead of Ambrosio.
The Frenchman beat second-placed Lucas di Grassi to the first corner, with Petrov and d’Ambrosio also slipping inside the Brazilian as they set off after Grosjean.
The teammates swapped fastest laps over the first half of the race, and while d’Ambrosio hung onto the back of the battle, di Grassi was soon struggling as he came under pressure from a hard-charging Luca Filippi.
But di Grassi’s race was finished by a large-scale accident within a few laps of the pitstops that claimed four cars and led to a safety car period. Grosjean, however, was able to secure his win ahead of Petrov and d’Ambrosio, as well as picking up a point for the fastest lap.
Fourth was Filippi with ART’s Pastor Maldonado in fifth, Arden’s Edoardo Mortara sixth, iSports’s Giedo van der Garde seventh and DAMS’ GP2 Asia champion Kamui Kobayashi eighth, set to start from pole on the sprint race’s reversed grid.
Sprint win gives Mortara debut win
Mortara held off race-long pressure from Grosjean to claim his first win in GP2 after jumping off the line to leave pole-sitter Kobayashi in his wake, with d’Ambrosio also following him through.
Van der Garde slotted in behind the pair, ahead of Grosjean, Kobayashi and Petrov, with the latter rapidly giving way to a fast-charging Filippi.
Grosjean disposed of van der Garde and d’Ambrosio in successive laps before latching onto the rear of the race leader and not letting go. The pair streaked away from the field, but the young Italian was not about to give up the chance of a win.
Mortara held on for the win just ahead of Grosjean, with d’Ambrosio a further five seconds behind. Van der Garde and Kobayashi had the luxury of quiet races to add to their point scores, while Maldonado claimed the final point for sixth place.
Driver standings (points scorers only):
- Romain Grosjean, Campos: 18 points
- Edoardo Mortara, Arden, 10 points
- JÃ©rÃ´me d’Ambrosio, DAMS, 10 points
- Vitaly Petrov, Campos: 8 points
- Giedo van der Garde: 5 points
- Luca Filippi, Super Nova, 5 points
- Pastor Maldonado, ART, 5 points
- Kamui Kobayashi, DAMS, 3 points