• GP2, German Grand Prix, Race 1

Opportunist Cecotto secures feature race victory

ESPN Staff
July 21, 2012
Johnny Cecotto's gamble to start on slick tyres paid off and saw him win from 17th on the grid © Sutton Images

Johnny Cecotto pulled off a strategic masterstroke to win the GP2 feature race at Hockenheim.

Cecotto started the race in 17th place but gambled on slick tyres with the wet track drying out. For the opening two laps he went backwards to 19th, but with the pit window not opening until lap six he was able to climb through the field to inherit the lead and eventually won by nearly ten seconds from Fabio Leimer. Stephane Richelmi started even further back in 22nd but finished third after matching Cecotto's strategy.

Pole-sitter Giedo van der Garde finished fifth behind Felipe Nasr, while Nigel Melker was sixth ahead of championship leader Luis Razia and James Calado - who takes reverse grid pole for tomorrow's sprint race.

As the race got underway on the wet track, Melker took the lead after van der Garde got out of shape exiting of turn four - dropping to third place. Davide Valsecchi then ran wide at turn eight and lost out to Nasr, Razia and Max Chilton in to the stadium section.

Cecotto had struggled further back but by lap four he was the quickest man on track. At the front Leimer overtook Melker in to turn six for the lead and Van der Garde then passed in the stadium section. Behind them, Cecotto carved his way through the field on lap six as the pit window finally opened for the rest of the field. He passed four cars in the stadium section - including going around the outside of two through turn thirteen and when everyone pit at the end of the lap Cecotto led.

With everyone on slicks, a good fight emerged for the lesser points positions. Marcus Ericsson passed Stefano Coletti for ninth place and Valsecchi ran in to the back of Coletti as the move took place. He suffered a little nose damage but it didn't affect his pace too heavily as he passed at the same spot two laps later.

Razia began to hold up Calado, which allowed Ericsson and Valsecchi to close in. Valsecchi passed Ericsson in to turn six and then Calado out of turn eight, but he later ran wide at the same corner and dropped down to 12th before running off track at turn 13 to eventually finish out of the points.

At the front, the two leaders finally took their compulsory stops; Richelmi pit from second and dropped back to fifth, but passed both van der Garde and Nasr in to turn six to get back on the podium. Cecotto pit with 15 laps to go and rejoined just ahead of Leimer in the lead but having already judged the race perfectly he pulled away easily on fresher tyres to take his second victory of the season.