Di Grassi holds on for second win Lucas di Grassi took the sprint race win this morning at Valencia to hand Campos a double victory at their home circuit, with the Brazilian staying out of trouble after avoiding an accident in front of him on the tenth lap and then storming away to win by four seconds from Luca Filippi and Jérôme D'Ambrosio, with the points from his fastest lap and the victory moving di Grassi into the title battle with just two rounds remaining in the season.
His job was made a little easier at the start of the race when Sébastien Buemi could not leave the grid for the warm up lap, clearing a slot in front of him, and when Andy Soucek and Jérôme D'Ambrosio were slow off the line on the dirty side of the track di Grassi was through and looking at the rear wing of polesitter Filippi, although Grosjean was able to just slot between the pair at the end of the first lap. With the Frenchman soon attacking the front man, di Grassi decided to bide his time and wait for an opportunity to come to him.
Behind them Bruno Senna was soon all over the rear of Soucek's car after Pastor Maldonado found the wall on the second lap, and the Brazilian was pushing hard to maximize his advantage over title rival Giorgio Pantano who was outside of the points: on lap seven it looked like the Brazilian's dreams were coming true when Soucek suddenly slowed, but an avoidance move off the track coated his tires in dirt and Senna spun a few corners later, finding the wall and ironically promoting the Italian into the points as he did so.
The battle between Grosjean and Filippi was white hot, and it soon flared over: on lap ten the Frenchman snuck inside at the final turn for the lead, but Filippi had other ideas and stayed with him all the way to turn two where he tried to return the favor, with the pair tripping over each other as di Grassi flew past them, with Filippi soon in pursuit while Grosjean was forced to return to the pits on foot.
D'Ambrosio was promptly all over the back of Filippi's slower car, but a safety car period for Marko Asmer's spin gave everyone the chance to take a breath and cool down for a few minutes, with the restart showing the front runners to be holding station. Further back however the challenge for the final point was heating up, and when Javier Villa cut a corner under intense pressure from Vitaly Petrov he had to hand the position to the Russian: unfortunately for yesterday’s race winner, Karun Chandhok decided to try and make both positions at the same time, with the inevitable contact causing both men to limp back to the pits and retirement.
And when the laps ran out it was di Grassi who saw the checkered flag first, driving a mature race to hand a double reward to his team ahead of Filippi, who used his experience to hold off the challenge from an impressive D'Ambrosio who was clearly delighted to take his first main series podium finish. Pantano held station for fourth and a few more valuable points in the championship ahead of Diego Nunes, who scored his first points of the season, and Villa held on to claim the final point of the race. With Pantano moving up to 70 points, Senna staying on 58 and di Grassi moving up to 51 points, the Spa weekend promises to be an enthralling three way fight.
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