GP2 Race 2: Di Grassi on top
Lucas di Grassi has opened his win account for the season by dominating today's race in Istanbul, leading the field from lights to flag to put himself on top of the podium between Javier Villa and Vitaly Petrov.
The Brazilian led the field away from pole when the lights went out, and that was the closest they got to him all race, while behind him Davide Valsecchi and Luca Filippi resumed their battle from late in yesterday's race: the pair came together at turn one, with the former spinning around and into Andreas Zuber while the latter had his rear tire shredded and had to limp all the way back to the pits for a replacement.
Di Grassi was determined to break his pursuer's spirits, and set a string of fastest laps with Villa the only driver who could stay within sight of the leader, albeit only just, while yesterday's race winner Petrov squeezed in behind them but didn't have the pace to stay with either man.
With the front men stringing out, the battle to watch was further back between Edoardo Mortara, Diego Nunes, Alvaro Parente and Romain Grosjean for ninth place: the Italian held on to the end despite race long pressure from Parente, but the then championship leader was unable to find a way by any of his competitors.
And when the flag dropped it was di Grassi who was the object of everyone's applause, finishing almost four seconds ahead of Villa with Petrov 1.5 seconds further back after claiming third position by nipping inside Nico Hülkenberg and Pastor Maldonado at the final corner of the first lap, while further back Alberto Valerio did a solid job to finish in the points for the second time this weekend.
Petrov's second Turkish podium gave him the championship lead from teammate Grosjean, with the Russian ahead by 33 points to 31, while di Grassi's victory moves him up to sixth spot with 16 points, 2 points behind Jérôme d'Ambrosio and one off the ART pair of Hülkenberg and Maldonado. It sets up an intriguing contest to come in Silverstone in just two weeks time.
||Lucas di Grassi
||Giedo van der Garde