Marcus Ericsson takes GP2 Feature Race victory at the Nurburgring
Swede picks up first win of 2013
By William Esler
Last Updated: 17/09/13 1:30pm
Having headed into 2013 as one of the title favourites, the Swede has endured a nightmare season and before Saturday, a solitary point in the Silverstone Sprint Race was his only scoring finish.
Starting from the dirty-side of the frontrow, the DAMS driver made a good start to get past team-mate Stephane Richelmi to lead into the braking area for turn one. The 22-year-old was then alert to a lunge from Arden's Mitch Evans into the first corner which saw him overshoot into the gravel and drop to 16th having started fourth.
Behind them though there had been chaos on the grid. Kevin Ceccon and Daniel Abt both went for the same gap and made contact, flipping the Trident driver upside down. As the Italian landed once more, he made contact with the rear of Adrian Quaife-Hobbs who had stalled at the start, forcing both out of the race. The safety car was deployed which allowed Abt to stay on the lead lap when he pitted for repairs and he would eventually finish 21st.
Ericsson caught his team-mate napping at the restart and quickly opened up a comfortable gap at the front. Felipe Nasr, who had started on the super-soft tyres, was crawling all over the back of Richelmi for the first two laps after the safety car and, unable to find a way past, opted to make his mandatory stop when the pit-window opened on lap six.
Robin Frijns and James Calado, who were battling over fourth, were in two laps later and the British driver got ahead of the Hilmer driver, who was delayed by a sticking left-rear tyre. Ericsson pitted next time around and comfortably re-joined ahead of the pair.
Richelmi continued to persevere with the medium compound, putting in some stellar laps before his stop on lap 13, but as he pitted, his front-jack man fell, delaying the Monegasque driver and allowing Nasr, Calado and Frijns past him. There were more front-jack problems further along the pit-lane at Arden where Evans' car was dropped during his stop and a lap later the same jack failed on team-mate Johnny Cecotto's machine.
Tom Dillmann threatened to get involved in the battle at the front after a long first stint, but stalled whilst exiting the pits, effectively taking him out of contention.
Stefano Coletti meanwhile had been making steady progress from 13th on the grid and was in the lead when he stopped on lap 19. His fresher tyres allowed him to close onto the battle for the final podium spot, setting up a thrilling conclusion.
The Rapax driver dispatched Richelmi on lap 25 and after being given a call of "it's now or never" over the team radio, went around the outside of Nasr at turn two a couple of laps later. Coletti quickly closed onto the tail of Frijns who was very forceful in his defence, delaying both drivers and allowing Richelmi and Fabio Leimer join in the fight.
On the final lap, Coletti dived up the inside of the Hilmer driver at the chicane and the pair made contact. Richelmi then got involved on the run to the final corner where Coletti final got past Frijns. Richelmi was able to follow him through, but it was Leimer who benefited most, nipping past both to take fourth.
GP2 Germany - Feature Race
1) Marcus Ericsson (SWE) - DAMS - 1:00:16.988
2) James Calado (GBR) - Art Grand Prix - +7.860
3) Stefano Coletti (MON) - Rapax - +14.915
4) Fabio Leimer (SWI) - Racing Engineering - +15.061
5) Stephane Richelmi (MON) - DAMS - +15.119
6) Robin Frijns (NED) - Hilmer Motorsport - +15.272
7) Jon Lancaster (GBR) - Hilmer Motorsport - +17.156
8) Tom Dillmann (FRA) - RUSSIAN TIME - +17.823
9) Felipe Nasr (BRA) - Carlin - +24.265
10) Johnny Cecotto (VEN) - Arden - +24.333
13) Sam Bird (GBR) - RUSSIAN TIME - +31.518
24) Jolyon Palmer (GBR) - Carlin - +1:42.868
Adrian Quaife-Hobbs (GBR) - MP Motorsport - Not classified
1) Stefano Coletti - 135
2) Felipe Nasr - 100
3) Sam Bird - 89
4) Fabio Leimer - 78
5) James Calado - 70
6) Jon Lancaster - 50
7) Stephane Richelmi - 47
8) Tom Dillmann - 47
9) Robin Frijns - 45
10) Jolyon Palmer - 39