Barcelona GP2: Robin Frijns and Hilmer take first win in thriller
|By Charles Bradley||Saturday, May 11th 2013, 15:02 GMT|
Reigning Formula Renault 3.5 champion Robin Frijns gave Hilmer Motorsport its first GP2 Series victory at Barcelona, making it the second race in succession that a new-for-2013 team has won.
Frijns and his team executed a perfect race strategy, switching from the soft tyres to the hard compound at the first opportunity on lap six.
Thanks to a fast stop, this gave him track position over everyone save for poleman, and early leader, Marcus Ericsson of DAMS.
But when the frontrunners tripped over cars on the divergent strategy of a long first stint on the hard tyre, Frijns grabbed the virtual lead as Ericsson collided with Sam Bird's Russian Time car. Ericsson was forced to retire as a result of the damage.
Frijns then did a perfect job of managing his tyres and the traffic, and kept his cool when second place Jolyon Palmer got to within 0.7 seconds of him with 10 laps remaining.
In the final laps, Frijns proved he had pace to burn, extending an eventual 3.3s margin of victory over Felipe Nasr, who bounced back from a terrible start to finish second after passing Carlin team-mate Palmer, with contact, at Turn 3 with four laps to go.
Palmer hung on to finish third after what he admitted was "a crazy race", but is under investigation from stewards for pushing Bird onto the grass exiting Turn 4, which caused Bird to spin into retirement during the frantic battle.
Series returnee Jon Lancaster made it a double celebration for Hilmer with fourth place, ahead of points leader Stefano Coletti and Tom Dillmann.
Dillmann went for a hard/hard-tyre strategy, and could have finished on the podium but for running wide at Turn 3 on the final lap.
He earlier escaped when Nathanael Berthon flew over the back of his car and Sergio Canamasas at Turn 10.
Championship frontrunner Fabio Leimer had a disastrous race, finishing 18th after being forced to pit for a new front wing after a startline clash with James Calado, which put the Briton out on the opening lap.
To compound a miserable race for DAMS, following the reigning champion team's front-row lock-out, Stephane Richelmi trailed home 15th after a drive-through penalty for punting Dillmann into a spin at Turn 4 (pictured above).
Results - 37 laps: Pos Driver Team Time/Gap 1. Robin Frijns Hilmer 1h00m38.896s 2. Felipe Nasr Carlin + 3.316s 3. Jolyon Palmer Carlin + 12.290s 4. Jon Lancaster Hilmer + 12.609s 5. Stefano Coletti Rapax + 13.329s 6. Tom Dillmann Russian Time + 14.325s 7. Alexander Rossi Caterham + 17.160s 8. Kevin Ceccon Trident + 17.504s 9. Johnny Cecotto Jr Arden + 24.013s 10. Rio Haryanto Addax + 32.024s 11. Daniel Abt ART + 32.823s 12. Mitch Evans Arden + 35.748s 13. Julian Leal Racing Engineering + 39.922s 14. Jake Rosenzweig Addax + 40.999s 15. Stefano Richelmi DAMS + 42.690s 16. Daniel de Jong MP Motorsport + 43.102s 17. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs MP Motorsport + 54.532s 18. Fabio Leimer Racing Engineering + 56.946s 19. Simon Trummer Rapax + 57.935s 20. Rene Binder Lazarus + 1 lap 21. Sam Bird Russian Time + 4 laps Retirements: Driver Team Laps Kevin Giovesi Lazarus 11 Marcus Ericsson DAMS 10 Sergio Canamasas Caterham 5 Nathanael Berthon Trident 4 James Calado ART 1