- GP2, German Grand Prix, Race 1
Ericsson takes dominant win at the Nurburgring
Marcus Ericsson took a convincing victory in the GP2 feature race at the German Grand Prix, winning by seven seconds from James Calado while the final podium position went to Stefano Coletti after a four-way battle in the final corner.
Ericsson started from second on the grid behind DAMS team-mate Stephane Richelmi, but took the lead into the first corner before a safety car was called for an accident at the back of the field. Kevin Ceccon was caught out at the start as he tried to thread his car between Daniel Abt and Rio Haryanto and was launched into a barrel roll that came to an abrupt stop as he hit the back of Adrian Quaife-Hobbs, who had stalled a few rows further up the grid.
Once the debris has been cleared, Ericsson took a commanding lead while his team-mate Richelmi worked hard to keep Felipe Nasr behind him for second. Richelmi was one of the last of the front runners to pit and as he rejoined the track he lost three positions on cold tyres, dropping behind Nasr, Calado and Robin Frijns.
While Ericsson made serene progress at the front, Nasr struggled most with his tyres in the chasing pack and finally succumbed to pressure from Calado on lap 17 at turn one and lost second place. Frijns launched a more aggressive attack on Nasr two laps later, but was outfoxed by the Brazilian after his first attempted lunge at turn one. Frijns regrouped and made the move stick on lap 21, but behind him Coletti was making swift progress through the field after dropping as low as 12th under the safety car.
On lap 25 Coletti was past Richelmi for fifth and a lap later was past Nasr for fourth. His progression through the field looked irresistible, but Frijns was in no mood to make way for the championship leader. He defended by sweeping across the track in front of Coletti, blocking him at every turn while Richelmi and Fabio Leimer made short work of Nasr behind.
Remarkably Coletti kept his cool despite the robust defence from Frijns and the Monegasque picked his moment on the final lap at the final chicane to make a lunge. Rather predictably Frijns cut across on him and the pair made contact, but Frijns lost momentum as a result and Richelmi and Leimer were close enough to pounce.
Coletti led the gaggle of four cars into the final corner only for Frijns to try one last do-or-die move that resulted in yet more contact. Richelmi managed to squeeze past Frijns but Leimer got the best exit of all from the final corner and took fourth behind Coletti with Richelmi, in fifth, showing as 0.0s behind as they crossed the line. Frijns dropped to sixth and after the race was seen stalking parc ferme looking for Coletti. Quite what he was trying to prove is still a mystery.
Jon Lancaster took seventh ahead of Tom Dillmann who will start from the reverse grid pole on Sunday. Nasr dropped to ninth by the finish with Johnny Cecotto taking the final point in tenth