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Istanbul 2008: Grosjean wins, bad luck dogs Senna.


Romain Grosjean made up for his rookie errors in Barcelona to claim victory in Sunday's sprint race in Istanbul, but the Frenchman's success was overshadowed by a potentially serious incident involving a charging Bruno Senna.

Grosjean had only just thrust his ART Grand Prix machine down the inside of long-time leader Vitaly Petrov when Senna returned to the pits with his right front corner folded back against the cockpit of the iSport entry. The Brazilian, clearly annoyed, complained vociferously of something in the middle of the track on the back straight, but it took some time to realise that he had collected a stray dog that had managed to find its way onto the circuit.

Istanbul has its fair share of strays and, when it turned out that there was a second animal on the circuit, presumably looking for the one despatched by Senna, the safety car was sent out to control the pace until it could be rounded up. That, however, was of little consolation to Senna or the iSport team, which not only suffered considerable damage, but have incurred a far more costly penalty had the victim not been caught by the right front wheel of the Brazilian's car.

The safety car period, meanwhile, put Grosjean into a similar position to that which he faced in the Barcelona sprint race but, this time, there was no mistake from the new Asia Series champion, and he pulled out an immediate lead over Petrov, who had Sebastien Buemi and Saturday winner Giorgio Pantano in close company.

Petrov had taken the early lead as problems hit the front row pairing of Adam Carroll and Javi Villa - the Briton succumbing to suspected clutch failure as he pulled away from pole and the Spaniard making a slow getaway - and a series of incidents decimated the field in the corners that followed.

Andy Soucek and Jerome d'Ambrosio collided at turn one, the returnee being stranded in the middle of the track, while Andreas Zuber and Yelmer Buurman came together a little further around the course, taking the innocent Adrian Valles with them. To compound another difficult sprint race for Piquet Sports, Pastor Maldonado was also out, while Ho Pin Tung never made it off the grid.

It took four laps to rescue the various stranded machines, but Petrov remained focused and led away at the restart. In his wake, Buemi headed Villa, Grosjean, race one winner Pantano and Mike Conway, while Karun Chandhok had to defend robustly to keep Roldan Rodriguez out of seventh, the pair actually touching into turn one.

Grosjean wasted little time in making up ground on the frontrunners, slicing past Villa on lap five and taking just two more tours to account for Buemi. Pantano, too, was on the move, demoting Racing Engineering team-mate Villa another place on lap six, with Conway also getting past the Spaniard on lap nine. Having almost pushed Rodriguez into the pit-wall on lap eight, Chandhok's efforts to follow Conway past Villa resulted in the Indian spinning, and Villa followed his aggressor down the order with an error of his own on dirty tyres at the final corner. The mistakes promoted Senna, who had started 15th, to sixth and the Brazilian was flying, swapping the fastest lap bonus with Grosjean.

The Frenchman's progress was complete when he finally managed to make a move on Petrov stick at turn twelve, but there was some confusion as to whether the pass had come under yellow flags, for Senna had collected his unwanted passenger not long before and was hobbling back to the pits on three wheels. No penalty followed, however, and the matter was confined to discussion ahead of the podium celebrations.

Petrov, despite appearing to lack pace on the longest straights, managed to keep Buemi at bay to the chequer, with Pantano keeping a watching brief in fourth. Conway completed a lonely run to fifth, having only just managed to avoid the errant dog that accounted for Senna, while Ben Hanley took advantage of the Brazilian's misfortune to make it two Britons in the points.


Related Pictures

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Romain Grosjean - ART Grand Prix   [pic credit: GP2 Series]
GP2 drivers on the stage during the season launch party at the Billionaire Club, Istanbul, Turkey in May. [Photo credit: Drew Gibson/GP3 Media Service]
Portrait
Five of the top drivers in the GP2 Championship in June 2011: Romain Grosjean (FRA, Dams), Sam Bird (GBR, iSport International), Charles Pic (FRA, Barwa Addax Team), Davide Valsecchi (ITA, Team AirAsia) and Giedo Van der Garde (NED, Barwa Addax Team) photographed in Valencia [Photo: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service.]
Bruno Michel, the CEO of the GP2/GP3 Series. [Photo credit: Drew Gibson/GP3 Media Service.]
2011 GP2 Series Champion Romain Grosjean (FRA, Dams) collects the Champion`s Trophy, with Alejandro Agag, team principal of Barwa Addax, which won the teams championship. [Photo credit: Drew Gibson/GP3 Media Service.]
Turn 2 of the Monza sprint race with Charles Pic already having gone into the rear of Romain Grosjean and now colliding with Luca Filippi. [Photo Credit: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service.]
Luca Filippi (ITA, Scuderia Coloni) celebrates his victory on the Monza feature podium with Charles Pic (FRA, Barwa Addax Team) and Romain Grosjean (FRA, Dams). [Photo Credit: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service.]
Christian Vietoris (GER, Racing Engineering) and Romain Grosjean (FRA, Dams) celebrate their successes on the podium. [Photo credit: Charles Coates/GP2 Media Service.]
Romain Grosjean (FRA, Dams) celebrates winning the 2011 GP2 Series title. Photo: Charles Coates/GP2 Media Service.
Romain Grosjean (FRA, Dams) on track at a wet Spa-Francorchamps. [Photo credit: Drew Gibson/GP2 Media Service.]
Romain Grosjean (FRA, Dams). [Photo: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service.]
Esteban Gutierrez (MEX, Lotus ART) leads Romain Grosjean (FRA, Dams) over the finish line for second place at the sprint race at the Hungaroring, Hungary in July 2011. [Photo: Andrew Ferraro/GP2 Media Service.]
Stefano Coletti (MON, Trident Racing) celebrates his victory on the podium with Esteban Gutierrez (MEX, Lotus ART) and Romain Grosjean (FRA, Dams) after the sprint race at the Hungaroring, Hungary in July 2011. [Photo credit: Andrew Ferraro/GP2 Media Service.]
Romain Grosjean (FRA, Dams) on track at the Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary. July 2011. [Photo credit: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service.]
Romain Grosjean (FRA, Dams) celebrates his fifth feature race win of the season on the podium with Charles Pic (FRA, Barwa Addax Team) at the Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary. July 2011. [Photo credit: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service.]
Romain Grosjean (FRA, Dams) celebrates his fifth feature race win of the season on the podium with Charles Pic (FRA, Barwa Addax Team) and Luiz Razia (BRA, Team AirAsia at the Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary. July 2011. [Photo credit: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service.]
Romain Grosjean (FRA, Dams) celebrates his fifth feature race win of the 2011 season at the Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary. July 2011. [Photo credit: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service.]
Sprint race winner Romain Grosjean (FRA, Dams) out on track at the Nurburgring during a gloomy July, 2011. [Photo credit: Andrew Ferraro/GP2 Media Service.]

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