Johnny Cecotto comes from 16th to take victory in the GP2 Feature Race in Spain
Podium finish sees Palmer extend Drivers' Championship lead
By William Esler. Last Updated: 10/05/14 5:02pm
Highlights from the GP2 Feature Race in Spain.
A great strategy call from Trident saw Johnny Cecotto come from 16th on the grid to claim victory in the GP2 Feature Race at Barcelona.
Whilst the front-runners started on the quicker soft tyre, the Venezuelan started on the hard compound and was able to make it last 27 laps before making his mandatory stop. By that stage he had built up an advantage of around 30 seconds over Jolyon Palmer - who had led the opening stages and was the first man to pit - and despite re-joining behind the Briton, was able to use his advantage of fresh soft tyres to close over two seconds in one lap and ease to victory by 3.4 seconds.
The race had started in farcical circumstances when a late call to abort the start caught out numerous drivers, including pole-sitter Stephane Richelmi who was forced to start from the pits.
After an additional formation lap, Mitch Evans challenged Palmer for the lead into turn one and as they battled, Stefano Coletti tried to sweep around the outside of the pair, but made contact with both the DAMS and Russian Time cars. Palmer escaped with just the upper element of his wing missing, but Evans was forced to pit for a new nose whilst Coletti limped back to the pits with a puncture.
The crazy beginning continued at turn ten when the slow starting Raffaele Marciello had a coming together with the Hilmer cars of Daniel Abt and Facu Regalia, forcing all three out of the race and causing a safety car.
Palmer and second-placed Felipe Nasr jumped into the pits at the end of lap six and it appeared the battle for victory would be between the two former team-mates when a botched stop dropped Julian Leal out of the fight. Indeed, even on lap 12 Nasr was still being reassured that he was in a net second place and to preserve his tyres for a late challenge on Palmer.
However, it quickly emerged that they had underestimated the pace that Cecotto and the returning Tom Dillmann had on the harder compound. Dillmann's race was ruined when his engine cover came loose on lap 19, promoting an extended pit-stop which relegated him to ninth at the flag, but heading into the final ten laps it was clear it was Cecotto's race to lose.
Trident's mechanics tried to calm each other ahead of the Venezuelan's stop on lap 27 and Cecotto re-joined between Palmer and Nasr. Having held off the challenge of the Brazilian, Cecotto quickly closed on Palmer and eased past into the final chicane. As the DAMS driver's tyres continued to fade, Nasr was able to close in, but Palmer held on to take second place and extend his Drivers' Championship lead.
GP2 Feature Race - Spain
1) Johnny Cecotto (VEN) - Trident - 1:00.28.853
2) Jolyon Palmer (GBR) - DAMS - +3.409
) Felipe Nasr (BRA) - Carlin - +3.750
4) Julian Leal (COL) - Carlin - +6.128
5) Rio Haryanto (INA) - Caterham Racing - +15.895
6) Arthur Pic (FRA) - Campos Racing - +16.842
7) Rene Binder (AUT) - Arden International - +17.682
8) Tio Ellinas (CYP) - MP Motorsport - +18.407
9) Tom Dillmann (FRA) - Arden International - +20.565
10) Adrian Quaife-Hobbs (GBR) - Rapax - +21.265
1) Jolyon Palmer - 56
2) Julian Leal - 42
3) Felipe Nasr - 27
) Johnny Cecotto - 25
5) Stoffel Vandoorne - 25