GP2 » 1 January 1901
Buemi wins Hungaroring sprint.
Sebastien Buemi claimed the second sprint race victory of his up-and-down 2008 GP2 Series campaign after Andy Soucek threw away the chance to take Hungaroring honours to Super Nova Racing.
The Spaniard made the better start from pole, sweeping across the bows of his Arden-run rival to claim the lead into turn one and, in the opening few laps, eased away from the chasing pack. Behind, there was the usual scramble into turn one, as Lucas di Grassi vaulted from eighth to fourth and the two Racing Engineering cars made up good ground from mid-grid to lie on the fringes of the points.
As Soucek and Buemi continued to gap the pack, di Grassi became impatient at not being able to go with them. Looking down the inside of Mike Conway into turn one third time around, the Brazilian suddenly realised he wasn't going to make the move stick, but got sideways as he tried to pull out, clipping and spinning the Briton as a result. The error would earn di Grassi a drive-thru' penalty and leave him without points for the second Sunday in a row.
Ironically, the man to replace him in the podium positions was Pastor Maldonado, who had ended the Brazilian's scoring run with an unceremonious punt at Hockenheim. That had earned the Piquet Sports driver a ten-place grid penalty for Hungary, which in turn was rendered useless by his shunt in practice. Undaunted, Maldonado produced the run of the race on Saturday to claim fifth place, and was now looking good to add a podium to that.
The other Piquet Sports entry wasn't faring quite so well, as Andi Zuber initially found himself sandwiched between the two Racing Engineering cars and then lost out to Giorgio Pantano as he ran wide through turn four. Unlike Saturday, there was no repeat of the contact that spun the points leader out of contention, and Pantano was able to slot in behind his team-mate.
With di Grassi picking up a penalty and closest title rival Senna safely in the points, however, Pantano knew that he had to do something about Javi Villa and quickly. The youngster held him off for a couple of laps, keeping Zuber interested all the while, but eventually 'ran wide' at the final turn, setting up a frantic three-abreast drag race down the main straight before Pantano assumed seventh spot. Villa also managed to duck back into line between his team-mate and Zuber, providing Pantano with a helpful buffer to the rapid Austrian.
Typically for the Hungaroring, the order out front remained pretty static, but that did not mean that there was a lack of incident elsewhere. Feature race polesitter Romain Grosjean was once again in the thick of things, his ART car looking little more stable than it had in the earlier race. Forced to start from the back of the grid after being adjudged the guilty party in the Pantano incident on Saturday, the Frenchman again appeared below par, eventually spinning Alvaro Parente out of the race at turn two.
The Portuguese joined Karun Chandhok on the sidelines after the Hockenheim sprint winner found his iSport Dallara refusing to select first, and the retirement list was quickly added to when Carlos Iaconelli suffered a massive blow-up that engulfed his BCN entry in white smoke. BCN's day got worse when team-mate Adrian Valles stopped for a check on his left front corner, although the Spaniard eventually rejoined.
Just as it appeared that the result was a foregone conclusion, however, Soucek made the mistake that handed the lead - and victory - to Buemi. Still with a comfortable near two-second lead, the Spaniard out-braked himself into a downhill right-hander, running wide enough that his pursuer could catch and pass him before he had regained the line. From there, Buemi needed no second bidding, pulling away just as Soucek had early on.
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