Two podiums in two days for championship leader Romain Grosjean have consolidated the Dams driver's hold on the 2011 GP2 Series title, while similar success for Luca Filippi was all the more remarkable given that it came just days after he departed Super Nova and switched to the Coloni team.
"For the championship it's a good result and we're a little bit higher," said Grosjean. "Now we will try to keep our advantage, and maybe increase it a little," he said, adding that next on the agenda was to "think about pole position and winning in Budapest!"
Grosjean's strong performances in this year's GP2 events have certainly caught the eye of Renault F1 team boss Eric Boullier, who agreed that Grosjean was definitely a candidate for a race seat in 2012 if Robert Kubica is unable to return to the team. "We are working hard to get Grosjean [into F1], as France needs a good F1 driver," Boullier said at the weekend
Grosjean amassed 12pts in total with third place in the Saturday feature race and his sprint race win on Sunday. That extended his lead in the series to 18pts over Giedo van der Garde, who finished sixth in the feature race but then crashed out early in the sprint race after tangling with Dani Clos.
Charles Pic looked set to take advantage of the Dutch driver's problems, but fell foul to a penalty for crossing the pit lane blend line as he came out from changing to slick tyres.
"The stewards, in what was a rigorous decision given the conditions, decided to penalise him for crossing a white line at the pit lane exit," complained the Barwa Addax team in a press release. "With the team looking for some kind of explanation for the penalty they delayed informing the driver and as he hadn't passed through pit lane within the time stipulated, he was black flagged and disqualified. Yet another stroke of bad luck for Charles who had overcome adverse circumstances during the race only to be penalised later."
"The championship I will take race by race," Pic said philosophically. "Try to be there all the time and make as many good results as I can, and we will see at the end."
Instead it was Luca Filippi and Jules Bianchi who broke through after stuttering first halves to their 2011 season, with Bianchi joining Pic, Sam Bird and Davide Valsecchi in a tight fight for third place, the four drivers now comprising a pack in the lower 30s in the points. Filippi is just 6ts off this fight, having amassed 15pts in a single weekend in Germany.
"It was perfect, I'm very happy!" said Filippi of his weekend's work. "It was very important for us because you could see how much it meant for the boys: you could see it in their eyes, and I am so proud and happy that I could present this to them."