Tyre Gamble pays off for Stefano Coletti at Hockenheim

Stefano Coletti took his first victory of the 2014 GP2 Series season in remarkable fashion after gambling on starting the Sprint race on slick tyres on a wet track at Hockenheim. The Racing Engineering driver initially struggled, as did all drivers that started on the dries, but as the track dried the race came to him, and the Monegasque driver was able to beat Felipe Nasr and Stoffel Vandoorne to the win.

A rain shower before the race had made tyre choice tricky to decide, but Coletti, Nasr and a number of other drivers decided on gambling on slick tyres hoping for the track to dry. At the start, the slick-tyred cars all struggled off the line, giving the wet-tyred drivers the advantage.

Pole sitter Nathanael Berthon held the lead at the start for Venezuela GP Lazarus, with Mitch Evans making the jump up to second from eighth on the grid for Russian Time. The safety car was deployed at the end of the opening lap with Stephane Richelmi’s DAMS machine stranded at the side of the track on fire after a collision with Trident Racing’s Johnny Cecotto Jr at turn one.

At the restart, Berthon started slipping down through the field, and would drop out of contention for points. Evans took the lead from Marco Sorensen of MP Motorsport, but soon Vandoorne took the lead when Evans made a mistake exiting turn one.

The track was coming back to the slick runners, and the drivers who started on wets began trickling into the pits. Jolyon Palmer was one of the first to swap from wets to dries, followed by pretty much everyone else. Vandoorne and Sorensen were able to pit under the safety car, as they needed to recover Arthur Pic’s stranded Campos Racing car at turn four. As Vandoorne exited the pits, Coletti drove by, and took the de-facto lead with the two drivers ahead of him, Andre Negrao and Daniel de Jong, still on wets.

Coletti was able to maintain his lead once the Arden International and MP Motorsport drivers pitted, while Nasr passed Vandoorne for second, with Sorensen able to continue his strong drive to finish fourth. Jon Lancaster had his and Hilmer Motorsport’s best race of the season to take fifth, ahead of Palmer in sixth, Alexander Rossi in seventh for Campos Racing, and Adrian Quaife-Hobbs eighth for Rapax.

Evans’ race was disappointing in the end and he slipped down to eleventh at the flag, but one of the biggest disappointments of the race was reserved for Raffaele Marciello, who was challenging for second place when his Racing Engineering car got stuck in sixth gear, causing him to retire. The Italian cannot catch a break right now.

The biggest retirement of the race was that of Johnny Cecotto Jr however. The Venezuelan started on the front row on slick tyres, but after his collision with Richelmi on the opening lap spun at least three times more and ultimately retired in the pits with a few laps left to run.

Hockenheim Sprint Race Result

1 Stefano Coletti MON Racing Engineering 45m31.696s
2 Felipe Nasr BRZ Carlin +1.238s
3 Stoffel Vandoorne BEL ART Grand Prix +5.531s
4 Marco Sorensen DEN MP Motorsport +15.656s
5 Jon Lancaster GBR Hilmer Motorsport +17.961s
6 Jolyon Palmer GBR DAMS +18.401s
7 Alexander Rossi USA Campos Racing +19.840s
8 Adrian Quaife-Hobbs GBR Rapax +24.222s
9 Tom Dillmann FRA EQ8 Caterham Racing +25.438s
10 Rio Haryanto INO EQ8 Caterham Racing +36.088s
11 Mitch Evans NZL RT Russian Time +39.177s
12 Artem Markelov RUS RT Russian Time +40.186s
13 Sergio Canamasas ESP Trident Racing +45.938s
14 Simon Trummer SWI Rapax +52.486s
15 Daniel Abt GER Hilmer Motorsport +54.865s
16 Daniel de Jong NED MP Motorsport +55.552s
17 Nathanael Berthon FRA Venezuela GP Lazarus +56.878s
18 Julian Leal COL Carlin +1m03.994s
19 Takuya Izawa JAP ART Grand Prix +1m08.828s
20 Conor Daly USA Venezuela GP Lazarus +1m09.713s
21 Andre Negrao BRZ Arden International +1m12.677s
22 Rene Binder AUT Arden International +1m15.032s
RET Johnny Cecotto Jr VEN Trident Racing 21 Laps
RET Arthur Pic FRA Campos Racing 11 Laps
RET Raffaele Marciello ITA Racing Engineering 7 Laps
RET Stephane Richelmi MON DAMS 0 Laps