The British country side greeted the GP2 race with a sunny weekend at Silverstone, but could Ploddy continue his strong form, this Fan is here to tell you how weekend played out.
Even before there race weekend had arrived, all the drivers knew that this was a race they all had to attend, as the native Brit (SOJ) would missing his home race the final of his four race hiatus and it was the title contenders who needed to extend their lead on what could prove to be a highly competitive run for the title.
Not only this but there were 4 other drivers who would miss the race with Sora, Fredz and rogue all taking their part-time job as a priority over racing, and Jase taking a mini break. There were a lot of cheap points to be had at Silverstone with only 7 drivers on the grid, a fact that did not escape zdievo in his fight against sora for points.
“I missed the Canadian GP for cheap points, I was not going to miss this one too, especially when sora would be absent, it would be a good chance for me to bring the car home for some cheap points”.
So it will be on for young and old, could E.T. recover from a horrible weekend at Valencia and who wanted the win the most at the historic Silverstone circuit.
It should also be noted that for the first time, Red Bull Racing will bring their “Wings for Life”, a spinal cord research foundation their “Faces for Charity” car livery at Silverstone to the Atomic F1 GP2 Championship.
millen opted to qualify on the primes and wait for the race to come to him, but “silly traction errors” only gave him the one full lap of a 1:38 starting at the back of the grid. Toggs had set a time on his prime and went out toward the end of quali on a set of options and was 1.2 seconds up on his time when he “…binned it coming through Becketts. I Powered down too early and ended up losing my back end” but he was happy none the less 4th on the grid knowing he had a time to compete with Pessimist on the same tyre
Ploddy decided to start the race on options and knew he would have enough time to do 3 runs if he needed it, but unhappy after the first few corners of his first run he decided to abort and put on a new set of options for another run, this time he as much happier and managed a PB of a 1:32.9, a very happy Lotus driver who did no race at the track in season 2.
The pole sitter, E.T. managed a PB to grab pole “What’s not to be happy about” he said after qualifying was over. And I have to say it was great to see the special livery RBR on pole.
With the small field it should be a clean start for all concerned which it was, Ploddy was able to get a very clean start and use KERS to take the inside line which E.T. had tried to defend but left enough racing room going into turn 1 to take the lead ahead of E.T. and Pessimist, followed by Toggs, a fast charging millen, a tail happy Effing and zdievo who had not started a race at Silverstone and was overly cautions, particularly being on the inside line, and lifted early to slot in behind millen for turn 1. Which millen later thanked him for, however unnecessary it may have been. It was longer before millen put Toggs under enough pressure to make a small mistake through Beckett’s, which lead to a side by side battle between the Toro Rosso and Ferrari where the Toro Rosso would have the upper hand of the inside line and through into 4th.
From here on out it was a relatively processional drive for all concerned, where avoiding driver errors and pit strategy being where most of the action was, with both the first two cars on options and Ploddy maintaining a 2-3 second gap however the RBR driver dropped to 3.8 seconds and made the call to go into the pits after 8 laps to try for the undercut. Giving Pessmist 2nd position only 12 second behind the leader on a set of primes. Ploddy recognises the undercut and turns up the fuel mix to put in a fast in lap on lap 9.
With a net set of primes to run to the end of the race Ploddy exits behind the longer running, Pessimist, millen and Toggs in 4th, but more critically 7 seconds ahead of E.T. a gap that E.T would reduce to under 6 second by the end of lap 10. Toggs pits on lap 11 and managed to come out ahead of E.T. in 4th, only 6 second behind Ploddy, but by lap 12 E.T. would have the better of Toggs and take 4th back.
Pessimist and millen had both started on the primes, but Ploddy pushed hard on his new set of primes to close down the gap to millen and Pessimist to be sure not to give up the effective race lead after all the pit stops were completed. By the start of lap 15 he was in sight of the cars in front and lapping faster setting fastest laps. millen and Pessomist would have their own little battle head with millen running wide into the grass allowing Ploddy through up into 2nd place only a 1 second behind Pessimist who was yet to pit.
Not wanting to wait for the Pessimist to pit and lose time behind the Sauber the two drivers would have a battle on lap 16, with the Lotus driver getting the DRS advantage, but Pessimist had not given up yet taking the inside line forcing Ploddy to run slightly wide letting Pessimist through, however on the following lap Ploddy would not let this happen again and using DRS to his full advantage taking the inside line and taking the lead. At the end of lap 17 Ploddy pits for his set of options coming out behind E.T. and only just ahead of millen.
Out back was not without their drama with the Williams team not telling their driver that his engine was bellowing with smoke, only to find out when he had a chance to breath during his pit stop on lap 17 and seeing smoke as he exits the pits. zdievo had altered his driving style to find time, particularly in the faster corners and had been very aggressive on his down shifts. With all the smoke and so many points to be scored, this had the Williams driver concerned, and was much less aggressive on his down shifts to ensure he could bring the car home safely.
Ploddy knew after all the pit stops that he simply needed to stay on the track and not allow E.T. to close the gap too much to give him a sniff at the win which he was able to do. With two laps to go the gap between Pessimist and millen was less than 3 seconds, with 1 final lap millen was just 2 seconds behind and pushing hard, with a scruffy run through Beckett’s by Pessimist, millen was only 0.636 second behind with 1 sector of the lap to go but it wasn’t enough of a lap left with Pessimist driving cleaning and taking the final podium position.
With Ferrari seeing the return of SOJ at the half way mark of the season at Hockenheim and what should be a return of a full grid, the race at Silverstone could prove to be a very important win for Ploddy in the bid for the Driver Championship extending his lead on SOJ to 53 points and 18 points ahead of millen.
E.T. had a very solid 2nd place to knock of the door for the battle for the title, but will need to find some consistency to be in the hunt on the back end of the season, something that Ploddy has managed very well in SOJ hiatus taking 2 wins and 2 second places. But with 11 races to go and reports of a possible return of McLaren with a very fast rookie in Germany, the challenge for the title is VERY far from over.