Hulkenberg storms to Qatar victory

Despite losing his pole position advantage away from the startline in Qatar, Nico Hulkenberg produced an utterly brilliant performance to win the first-ever GP2 Asia night-time feature race at the Losail International Circuit

Hulkenberg storms to Qatar victory

The ART Grand Prix star had to play second fiddle initially to Sergio Perez, the race being disrupted in the early stages after a huge startline crash. Sakon Yamamoto stalled from sixth on the grid and was struck by 23rd qualifier Yelmer Buurman, who hit him with enormous velocity. Fortunately, neither was injured, even though Buurman's car briefly caught fire.

Hulkenberg even slipped to third by lap 13, passed by a flying Javier Villa (Super Nova), who was up from seventh on the grid. But Nico was merely preserving his tyres and a phenomenal mid-race spurt meant he was matching the times of those who had stopped for fresh tyres, even though his were worn.

"We did the right strategy to stay out," said Hulkenberg. "My biggest problem was that I'd lost my communication to the team. So it was very quiet for a long time and I never got a clear answer when I asked if I should pit, so I stayed out. Everything was fine and to win a race after just three starts isn't bad I think."

Vitaly Petrov, who had run third early on, was the first of the big players to pit on lap 10. He took full advantage of his extra grip and was ahead of Campos teammate Perez when he rejoined the circuit from his own pitstop on lap 14.

Perez, who was also suffering from radio communication problems, admitted he was confused by this situation and also couldn't work out why he ended up over 10 seconds behind Hulkenberg by the finish. He lunged past Petrov with a determined move at Turn 1 on lap 18, fortunately without contact to preserve a 2-3 finish for sponsor Barwa on home turf.

Series leader Kamui Kobayashi finished fourth, having struggled in the early going after tangling with title rival Roldan Rodriguez at the first corner. He regained his pace after his pitstop and chased Petrov over the finish line by 0.4s.

His DAMS teammate Jerome d'Ambrosio was fifth, after overcoming Davide Valsecchi following a long battle. Arden duo Edoardo Mortara and Luiz Razia were seventh and eighth to lock out Saturday's reverse grid sprint race front row.

To show he had speed to burn, Hulkenberg rattled off a couple of 1:38 laps in the closing stages, enough to give him the point for fastest lap.

Pos Driver Team Time 1. Nico Hulkenberg ART 1h10:38.323 2. Sergio Perez Campos + 13.295 3. Vitaly Petrov Campos + 14.343 4. Kamui Kobayashi DAMS + 14.746 5. Jerome d'Ambrosio DAMS + 23.419 6. Davide Valsecchi Durango + 33.919 7. Edoardo Mortara Arden + 35.214 8. Luiz Razia Arden + 35.341 9. James Jakes Super Nova + 41.162 10. Fabrizio Crestani Ocean + 43.774 11. Diego Nunes Piquet + 45.097 12. Giedo van der Garde iSport + 47.627 13. Javier Villa Super Nova + 47.827 14. Davide Rigon Trident + 1:07.444 15. Michael Herck DPR + 1:09.324 16. Marco Bonanomi Meritus + 1:20.001 17. Alvaro Parente Meritus + 1:31.986 18. Kevin Nai Chia Chen Fisichella + 2 laps 19. Frankie Provenzano Trident + 4 laps 20. Michael Dalle Stelle Durango + 4 laps Retirements: Driver Team Laps Giacomo Ricci Trident 27 Roldan Rodriguez Piquet 10 Hamad Al Fardan iSport 9 Sakon Yamamoto ART 0 Rodolfo Gonzalez Fisichella 0 Yelmer Buurman Ocean 0 
shares
comments
Hulkenberg takes night race pole

Previous article

Hulkenberg takes night race pole

Next article

Perez rockets to Qatar sprint win

Perez rockets to Qatar sprint win
Load comments
How F2 and F3's flawed format changes could prove shortlived Plus

How F2 and F3's flawed format changes could prove shortlived

After a chaotic 2020, marred by the coronavirus pandemic, the FIA brought in radical changes to Formula 2 and 3. But less than 12 months later, there are talks of them being reversed after all did not go to plan…

FIA F2
Sep 9, 2021
The Red Bull F1 junior aiming to defy geographical odds Plus

The Red Bull F1 junior aiming to defy geographical odds

It's a long way from Pukekohe New Zealand to Milton Keynes, but Red Bull's Kiwi protege Liam Lawson has defied plenty of odds to reach the rung below F1. He's endured disappointment since winning on his F2 debut in Bahrain, but is determined to turn his season around and prove himself worthy of a place in F1

FIA F2
Jul 27, 2021
How Red Bull's next F1 hopeful turned around his season Plus

How Red Bull's next F1 hopeful turned around his season

Having impressed in Formula 3, Juri Vips looked to be next cab off the rank in Red Bull's prestigious Junior Team before his 2020 schedule was dealt a heavy blow by the COVID-19 pandemic. After a tough start to life in Formula 2, Vips is showing signs of a recovery - could he be the first Estonian to reach Formula 1?

FIA F2
Jun 14, 2021
The making of an F1 hopeful re-writing the F2 record books Plus

The making of an F1 hopeful re-writing the F2 record books

He'd marked himself out as a star of the future in last year's FIA Formula 3 championship, but 17-year-old Theo Pourchaire underlined his credentials by winning his first Formula 2 race in the Monaco feature. Sauber junior status gives him a clear route to the top, but with wisdom beyond his years, he's not getting caught up in his own hype

FIA F2
Jun 3, 2021
The 10 greatest F2 races contested by F1 drivers Plus

The 10 greatest F2 races contested by F1 drivers

Formula 2 used to be about more than providing a stepping stone to F1. For three decades it often provided another setting for the world’s best to fight it out. Autosport picks out the very best races

FIA F2
May 16, 2021
The F1 hopeful living two lives to keep his dream alive Plus

The F1 hopeful living two lives to keep his dream alive

Having lost his backing from Red Bull, Richard Verschoor has had to graft to continue his ascent up the single-seater ladder. An impressive Formula 2 debut in Bahrain, despite the lateness of his deal, shows his unorthodox approach is paying dividends

FIA F2
Apr 22, 2021
Was Formula 2’s radical format switch a success? Plus

Was Formula 2’s radical format switch a success?

Going into the 2021 Formula 2 season the biggest talking point wasn’t about any drivers or teams, but the new race weekend format. Created partly out of financial necessity but also to spice up the action, the Bahrain opener provided a snapshot of the positives and negatives to come

FIA F2
Apr 4, 2021
Why 2021 is make-or-break for the driver F1 needs Plus

Why 2021 is make-or-break for the driver F1 needs

He was tipped for glory in FIA Formula 2 last year, but was hampered by reliability woes at inopportune moments. Guanyu Zhou knows he won't get too many more chances if he is to become China's first F1 driver, with fierce competition within the ranks of Alpine's junior stable

FIA F2
Mar 25, 2021