• GP2, Hungarian Grand Prix, Race 2

Coletti wins amazing sprint race from 21st

ESPNF1 Staff
July 31, 2011
Stefano Coletti mastered the conditions to take victory © Sutton Images

Stefano Coletti won an enthralling GP2 sprint race from 21st place on the grid as intermittent rain mixed up the field time and again.

Coletti beat Esteban Gutierrez - who had started 24th - and Romain Grosjean as pole sitter Christian Vietoris spun when leading to end his chances. Giedo van der Garde was fourth ahead of Sam Bird and Jules Bianchi.

Starting on a damp track, Vietoris got away brilliantly to lead comfortably in to turn one, while behind him a number of cars ran wide in to the first corner, including Luca Fillipi. At turn two Marcus Ericsson went wide along with Mikhail Aleshin and dropped well down the order, while Max Chilton later spun. At the front, Van der Garde and Pic slotted in behind the leader, with Bianchi fourth.

On lap two Grosjean, who had made a good start from eighth, pressured Bianchi in to a mistake at the penultimate corner to take fourth, with Leimer close behind as Herck spun off at turn ten.

Adam Carroll was given a drive through for jumping the start, as the drying track saw all of the drivers go in search of standing water to keep their tyres cool. And a close battle for seventh developed as Josef Kral held up Luis Razia, and Paul Varhaug and Bird closed in, soon joined by Kevin Mirocha.

Grosjean closed in on Charles Pic in third and tried to pass in to turn one but ran wide allowing the Addax car back through. The same occurred on the following lap, and the scrapping allowed Bianchi to re-catch Grosjean and make it a three horse race.

Pic pitted for slicks just as Chilton crashed in to the wall on the inside exiting turn two, bringing out the safety car. Vietoris and Van der Garde were straight in the next time around, followed by Grosjean, Bianchi and the rest of the field. A strange situation occurred as the incident had been cleared but the safety car was yet to pick up the leaders following pit stops.

When it all shook out, Pic was unfortunate to find himself down in tenth place, but had the hope of further expected rain. At the restart, Grosjean got a much better run on van der Garde to force him wide in to turn one, and Bianchi tried to cut under the pair of them but ran in to the back of the Addax car. The pair continued their battle through the first sector, but Bianchi tried to get alongside on the outside of turn four in a rash move and was forced on to the grass, spinning to the back of the pack.

Bird, having been 17th on the grid, had made a great restart from eighth and had a scrap with Coletti - who had started the race on slicks - for fourth as the pair easily dispatched Razia. The conditions made for exciting close racing down the whole field, as Ericsson spun at turn four under pressure from Filippi.

Van der Garde was struggling for pace and was soon passed by Coletti with Bird closing in. Filippi and Varhaug both spun out - the latter after contact with Valsecchi - but the incidents were dealt with under yellow flags as the time limit became the order of the day.

As the rain began to fall again, Bird passed Van der Garde under braking for turn one, but the race was turned on its head as Vietoris spun under pressure from Grosjean, breaking Vietoris' front wing as he made contact with the rear of the DAMS car and allowing Coletti through in to the lead.

Grosjean recovered to second place and set about catching the Trident man, while Bird pit for wet tyres as Dani Clos spun at turn eight and then stalled after spinning the car round again, causing another safety car. As Pic had before him, Bird lost out, but the Frenchman had stayed out on slicks and inherited the lead.

Pic didn't appear to know that the safety car was coming in, and had strung out the field as he followed it closely before the restart. The rain saw many more mistakes and Pic plummeted down the field as Coletti led away from Grosjean and the charging Gutierrez, while van der Garde and Bird battled over fifth.

Bianchi had recovered from his earlier spin by pitting for wets early, and he closed up on Bird and van der Garde as the clock ticked down. Bird's front wing was hanging off the front of his iSport car, however, and he had to fight hard to defend his position.

Coletti eased home at the front for a remarkable win having made up 20 places, but all eyes were on the battle for second, and Grosjean went slightly wide in the final corner to give Gutierrez a sniff, and he dived up the inside to snatch second on the line and go two better than Coletti. Van der Garde finished fourth while Bird impressively held on for fifth with his broken front wing ahead of Bianchi in the final points position.