Lewis Hamilton became only the second driver to do a GP2 race weekend double after taking victory in the Sunday sprint race at the Nurburgring from eighth on the grid.

Having dominated Saturday's feature, despite incurring a pit-lane penalty, the Briton had to work a little harder for his second series win, but pulled off a string of passing moves to work his way to the front, assuming control from BCN's Hiroki Yoshimoto on lap 17 of 24.

Hamilton was helped by the fact that two cars ahead of him on the grid - Ernesto Viso and ART team-mate Alex Premat - were among half a dozen that stalled on the warm-up lap, removing two potential obstacles from his path, but there appeared to be few who could live with a hooked-up ART Dallara and a driver clearly at home on a circuit he knows well and with a new attitude about him after missing out at Imola. Race one had obviously boosted his confidence, and Hamilton was in a class of his own again on Sunday.

From the outside of row four, he was immediately into fifth at the start, and hounded Jose Maria Lopez for five laps before diving up the inside of the Super Nova driver into turn one. As he had in the feature event, Hamilton then eased away from his opponent, latching on to Adam Carroll. The Northern Irishman put up stiffer resistance, but was powerless to prevent his fellow Briton from pulling alongside and forcing him into an error at the same spot. Although the ART car was on the wider line heading into the tight first turn, Carroll was the one that locked-up and, running wide, allowed Hamilton easy passage through the second part of the corner.

Again, the reigning F3 Euroseries champion pulled away, closing quickly on the lead battle between polesitter Hiroki Yoshimoto and Nicolas Lapierre, who had leapt from fourth to second at the start as Xandi Negrao made a tardy getaway. It took five laps for Hamilton to get the measure of the Frenchman, Lapierre again appearing to be caught out by an out-braking move from a long way back. Where Nelson Piquet Jr had arrived all locked-up into the Veedol chicane on Saturday, however, Hamilton was the personification of calm as he glided up the inside into turn one to assume second spot.

That left just Yoshimoto between the Briton and the double and, although the Japanese had driven a flawless race to that point, he too proved off little trouble, with Hamilton again choosing turn one to execute his move. With just seven laps left to the chequer, the ART man was unable to stretch out quite the same sort of gap as he enjoyed by the end of the feature, but Yoshimoto proved unable to retaliate.

"As I said yesterday, this is a great starting point for me and the team, and I thought this weekend would be the turning point for us and it's proved to be so," Hamilton said after stepping down from the top step of the podium, "To get the double is fantastic."

The BCN driver's cause was not helped by an unfortunate meeting with the final turn kerb which pitched him off to the left and allowed both Lapierre and Lopez through to complete the podium, and fourth spot was poor reward for a calculated performance out front.

"I'm quite happy with the podium, but me and the team are expecting a win now," Lapierre admitted, "We had some good speed today from the beginning to the end, but Lewis was just better than me in the fight."

Lopez was best placed to claim the final step of the rostrum having followed Hamilton past Carroll, the Racing Engineering driver unable to hang on quite as well as he had on Saturday. He did manage to claim fifth place, however, to increase his tally by a couple of points.

"This weekend has been fantastic for us," Lopez commetned, "After a difficult start to the year, we were quickest in first practice and then scored a lot of points. That was what we wanted. We need to keep it like this."

Michael Ammermuller completed the top six from tenth on the grid, but had to resist stern mid-race pressure from points leader Piquet, who rose from his lowly grid slot to challenge for the final scoring place. That pressure ended a handful of laps from the end, however, with the Brazilian dropping away from under the Arden car's rear wing, and culminated in him parking up in pit-lane.

Piquet Sports team-mate Negrao thus inherited the seventh spot, ahead of DPR's Clivio Piccione, who very nearly didn't make it through the first lap for the third time this season, having been tapped by Trident's Andreas Zuber in turn two. The Austrian lasted little longer, however, having then been collected by the second Direxiv-backed entry of Olivier Pla, breaking his suspension.

Trident team-mate Gianmaria Bruni, having seen any hope of a decent result ruined by his spin at the chicane on Saturday, used the morning as an extended test session, alternating fast and slow laps in an effort to secure the bonus for best time. The Italian had opposition from Premat, who managed to lower the benchmark to a stunning 1min 40.9secs in the closing stages - having not been able to better 1min 42s when under pressure from Hamilton in race one - but was not eligible to score having started from pit-lane.

The other delayed starters, Viso and iSport team-mate Tristan Gommendy, ran in tandem for large parts of the race, but could only make it as high as eleventh and twelfth by the flag, having benefited from a rash of drive-thru penalties for midfield runners in the early stages, but then getting snarled up in a traffic jam formed behind Fairuz Fauzy. Timo Glock initially headed the pursuit, but retired not long after giving the Malaysian a tap coming out of the Mercedes Arena complex at half-distance. Ferdinando Monfardini then took up the chase, albeit fruitlessly, while Lucas di Grassi provided entertainment in the middle of the train before succumbing to both iSport entries on the last lap.

Although Piquet retains the points lead heading back to Spain next weekend, his cushion is not just one point over Hamilton and two over the consistent, if not yet victorious, Lapierre. ART, however, appears to be finding the sweet spot of the revamped GP2 machine, and Hamilton could yet find himself in the Nico Rosberg role from now on.

Meanwhile, there will be a fair few football fans hoping that the Briton's dominance on German soil is a portent of things to come this summer.....

 

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