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|
|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|
|7||Alexander Rossi||USA||Campos Racing||+19.840s|
|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|
|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|
|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|