Zuber powers to race 1 win
Andi Zuber has finally converted the blistering pace he has shown all season into dominant racing form by storming to his first win of the year in race one at Silverstone, two seconds ahead of local hero Mike Conway.
Zuber, whose starts have been troubled to say the least so far this year, put such thoughts to rest by leading the pack through the first turn and holding on to the lead for the rest of the race, apart from his pitstop, to stand on the top step of the podium between Conway and Kazuki Nakajima.
After leading the pack around on their warm up lap it looked as though Zuber's start curse may have struck again: the lights failed to come on, but he had the presence of mind to peel off again for another warm up lap as proscribed, and the next time around he made a smart get away with Conway and Lucas di Grassi nipping at his heels as they went through Stowe.
Behind them Nakajima has a very slow start, dropping a couple of places as Timo Glock and Adam Carroll muscled their way through, while Giorgio Pantano made his customary lightning start to move up to ninth.
Up at the front Zuber was putting in the fastest laps of the race to try and build a buffer back to Conway, while teammate Glock was also storming up: the German was piling the pressure onto di Grassi, and it paid off on lap three when the Brazilian ran half a car width wide, opening the smallest of gaps for Glock and Carroll to barge their way through.
Pantano and Nicolas Lapierre took their pitstops next time by, working on the principle that a clear track is better than being just outside of the points but in the middle of the melee, coming out 19th and 20th but with no traffic in front of them until Nakajima came in four laps later, slotting back on track just in front of the Italian.
It was the stop that opened the floodgates: di Grassi came in two laps later (fifth to ninth), Glock the next time around (third to seventh), then Conway (second to fourth), and finally race leader Zuber (first to third). The only men between Zuber and the top of the timesheets were Carroll and Vitaly Petrov, and it was just a matter of time before they peeled into the pitlane as well.
Carroll was making the most of the clear track in front of him and building a huge gap back to the men behind him: on the time sheets it looked as though he was likely to come back out in third place should his stop go well, and he was doing everything he could to guarantee the result. But on lap fifteen the position was handed to him when Glock came back in, stopping at the top of the pitlane: his battery had given up on him, and the metaphorical steam from his ears was almost visible as his team swarmed around him.
The Ulsterman did even better than he had hoped: an amazing pitstop by the FMS team put him out right on Conway's tail, who himself was right behind Zuber, and a three way fight for the win was on the cards. Until it was announced that the stop was a little too fast: Carroll was going to have to come back for a drive through penalty after speeding in the pitlane.
The pit gamble for Pantano and Lapierre looked to be working out until lap 17, when the Italian slowed and stopped by the side of the track, the innocent victim of a technical gremlin, while the Frenchman joined him in retirement after his car jinked oddly to the left at the final turn, and he was unable to stay off the wall.
Further back And Bruno Senna was reveling in the conditions: after being allowed to start despite not setting a lap within 107% of pole after his off in qualifying yesterday, and stopping for tires on lap two, he was slicing through the field as though they weren't there. Until, that is, he caught up to Michael Ammermuller: the German was not in the mood to let anyone through, and a train formed behind him that was to last for the remainder of the race.
But back up at the front it was Zuber who collected the checkered flag, pumping his fists with delight as he led Conway across the line. Nakajima was the next man by, albeit 17 seconds behind the leader, while di Grassi was in damage control by holding on for fourth place a further 12 seconds back. Luca Filippi, who had a torrid time in qualifying before starting 11th, had a tremendous drive to finish fifth at the flag, with a disappointed Carroll slotting in behind him after his second stop of the race.
Pastor Maldonado and Roldan Rodriguez battled their way to the final points finishes, just ahead of Petrov and the Ammermuller train, while Glock will be doubly disappointed to lose the points for fastest lap after finally making it back on track: finishing 8 laps down meant he was not a qualified finisher, and the points therefore go to the next fastest man: teammate, poleman, and eighth winner from eight races so far this year Andi Zuber, the bonus points going someway towards making up for the torrid bad luck he's hoping is now behind him for the remainder of the year.
Pos Driver Team Time
1. Andreas Zuber iSport International 54:21.118
2. Mike Conway Super Nova International + 1.815
3. Kazuki Nakajima DAMS + 16.916
4. Lucas Di Grassi ART Grand Prix + 28.365
5. Luca Filippi Super Nova International + 36.481
6. Adam Carroll FMS International + 47.392
7. Pastor Maldonado Trident Racing + 48.300
8. Roldan Rodriguez Minardi Piquet Sports + 51.681
9. Vitaly Petrov Campos Grand Prix + 54.214
10. M.Ammermuller ART Grand Prix + 58.845
11. Bruno Senna Arden International + 58.955
12. Karun Chandhok Durango + 1:00.810
13. Javier Villa Racing Engineering + 1:01.243
14. Adrian Zaugg Arden International + 1:02.947
15. F.Albuquerque Racing Engineering + 1:05.102
16. Sakon Yamamoto BCN Competicion + 1:06.357
17. Ho-Pin Tung BCN Competicion + 1:07.999
18. Kohei Hirate Trident Racing + 1:22.338
19. Jason Tahinci FMS International + 1:23.255
20. Borja García Durango + 4 Laps
Timo Glock iSport International 26 laps
Nicolas Lapierre DAMS 19 laps
Giorgio Pantano Campos Grand Prix 17 laps
Alexandre Negrao Minardi Piquet Sports 8 laps
C.Bakkerud DPR 1 laps
Andy Soucek DPR 0 laps
Fastest lap: Glock, 1:30.952 on lap 20