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Hockenheim GP2: Stefano Coletti uses tyre gamble to win thriller

Stefano Coletti, Racing Engineering, wins Hockenheim GP2 2014

Stefano Coletti won a thrilling GP2 sprint race at Hockenheim, as a slick-tyre gamble on the grid paid off for the Racing Engineering driver's first win in over a year.

Heavy rain fell 10 minutes before the start of the race, and although the track was soaked a number of drivers made the brave call to start on slick tyres, including frontrunners Felipe Nasr (fourth on the grid) and Coletti (fifth). The majority started on wets.

The slick starters tumbled down the order immediately, as poleman Nathanael Berthon led from a fast-starting Mitch Evans (up from eighth) and Marco Sorensen.

Coletti was the first of the slick-shod cars in 13th when the safety car was required to retrieve Stephane Richelmi's DAMS car, which had caught fire after a clash with Johnny Cecotto Jr at Turn 1.

At the restart, Berthon fell backwards quickly, with Saturday's winner Evans briefly leading until he ran wide at Turn 1 and allowed Stoffel Vandoorne to hit the front. Evans then tumbled backwards, as Sorensen came up to second.

By lap 10, Coletti started setting purple sector times as the crossover period arrived. Jolyon Palmer was the first frontrunner to pit, when running fourth. Coletti had been over 45 seconds off leader Vandoorne, but quickly made big gains at this point.

Vandoorne's decision about when to pit was made for him when a safety car was required to recover Arthur Pic's spun car, so all the leaders pitted for slicks.

Coletti grabbed the lead as Vandoorne pitted, the Belgian rejoining ahead of Nasr and Sorensen.

When the race resumed, Nasr passed Vandoorne for second after a huge scrap and chased after Coletti. He got the gap down to a second, but Coletti had pace to spare and won through by 1.2s, taking fastest lap on the final tour.

"It feels great," said Coletti. "We saw two years ago it dries really quickly here, but it was very difficult at the beginning."

Vandoorne finished third, ahead of Sorensen, an impressive Jon Lancaster, Palmer, Alexander Rossi (who also started on slicks) and Adrian Quaife-Hobbs.

Hard luck stories included Coletti's team-mate Raffaele Marciello, whose car stuck in sixth gear just as he was challenging Sorensen, causing him to go off.

Evans finished 11th.

Results - 26 laps:

Pos  Driver               Team                  Time/Gap
 1.  Stefano Coletti      Racing Engineering  45m31.696s
 2.  Felipe Nasr          Carlin                 +1.238s
 3.  Stoffel Vandoorne    ART                    +5.531s
 4.  Marco Sorensen       MP                    +15.656s
 5.  Jon Lancaster        Hilmer                +17.961s
 6.  Jolyon Palmer        DAMS                  +18.401s
 7.  Alexander Rossi      Campos                +19.840s
 8.  Adrian Quaife-Hobbs  Rapax                 +24.222s
 9.  Tom Dillmann         Caterham              +25.438s
10.  Rio Haryanto         Caterham              +36.088s
11.  Mitch Evans          Russian Time          +39.177s
12.  Artem Markelov       Russian Time          +40.186s
13.  Sergio Canamasas     Trident               +45.938s
14.  Simon Trummer        Rapax                 +52.486s
15.  Daniel Abt           Hilmer                +54.865s
16.  Daniel de Jong       MP                    +55.552s
17.  Nathanael Berthon    Lazarus               +56.878s
18.  Julian Leal          Carlin              +1m03.994s
19.  Takuya Izawa         ART                 +1m08.828s
20.  Conor Daly           Lazarus             +1m09.713s
21.  Andre Negrao         Arden               +1m12.677s
22.  Rene Binder          Arden               +1m15.032s


     Johnny Cecotto       Trident                21 laps
     Arthur Pic           Campos                 11 laps
     Raffaele Marciello   Racing Engineering      7 laps
     Stephane Richelmi    DAMS                    0 laps
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