Jani hangs on for first win at Hungaroring

Neel Jani took his first GP2 series victory today at the Hungaroring circuit of Budapest, followed in a tight finish by Heikki Kovalainen and Giorgio Pantano, all within 1.7 seconds at the chequered flag. Yesterday's disqualification of Nico ...

Jani hangs on for first win at Hungaroring

Neel Jani took his first GP2 series victory today at the Hungaroring circuit of Budapest, followed in a tight finish by Heikki Kovalainen and Giorgio Pantano, all within 1.7 seconds at the chequered flag.

Yesterday's disqualification of Nico Rosberg, who set the fastest time but was penalised for technical reasons, was a key help for the Swiss to claim the first place in Hungary.

"I had a good start, the car was really good in the beginning, and it didn't go down in performance as much as in the other races -- it went down, but not so much, and I really have to say thank you to the team for this good improvement", commented the winner.

This was the first time that Jani had reached a podium in the series. Until today, two fourth places had been his best results.

The most dramatic moment of the race was the restart after the safety car that had all the field together again. "I'd say Heikki took quite a risk there, and he looked more like a Japanese driver than a Finnish one! I saw there was a yellow spot in my mirrors, and I thought wow, there is someone flying there, and I opened and he went by and I just managed to get in, but I think he took a lot of risk there", Jani said.

After that hot restart, Jani managed to stay in the lead but always with Kovalainen and Pantano in his mirrors.

For Jani, this first GP2 victory was the test he needed to pass to show he is in the high level: "I have proved it now, because I always knew that I could do it and that I could compete with these guys here -- we just needed to get it a little bit right, and now I think it is more or less right. And there is more to come".

And Kovalainen has returned to the podium after Germany last weekend. The Finn drove a strong race and took the advantage of Rosberg's problems to get more points for the championship.

Great teamwork in the pits allowed Kovalainen to get behing Pantano, but it wasn't enough to pass Jani, who stopped a couple of laps later, on 18. "At least our pitstop was quite good, so we managed to come back, and we were right there. It could have easily been another story, but it wasn't", Kovalainen mentioned.

"We changed the tyres (in the pitstop) and it felt really good and I could push. It was close -- it was close after Jani made his pitstop, and I initially lost a little bit to him when he had fresh tyres, and towards the end I could catch up a little bit but I just couldn't get past him", he said.

He will have tomorrow the challenge of a start from seventh place in a circuit where it is hard to overtake another car. "I'm going to try and make a better start, and then I'm going to try and fight -- it's going to be difficult, but it's possible to overtake if you get everything right and especially if you have enough pace. We are looking for a good fight tomorrow, and to get a few more points".

Italian Pantano expected more for this first race of the double round weekend. ""I could have won the race today", he said after the podium ceremony.

The Super Nova driver fought for the victory since the green lights came up but he wasn't able to beat Jani and Kovalainen in the end.

A mistake of his own was one reason for Pantano not to win on the Hungaroring: "I made a little mistake after ten laps at corner four, which is the quick one, and we lost five seconds. And I think that was probably the difference between me winning and not winning, because if I hadn't lost it I think I would have had a quite good chance to win the race".

Pantano repeated his Hockenheim podium, for the third of the season, which shows that Super Nova and the Italian are climbing in GP2 after a difficult start to the year.

"I think when I started this season it was clear in my head that I will be here and at the front to compete for the championship, but we were too unlucky and had so many problems, and the results couldn't come. I think now that, if everything goes well, we will be there at the front now and have the chance to win", Pantano commented.

The Italian now shares the ninth place in the championship along Nelson. A Piquet, both with 24 points .

The ART Grand Prix drivers, Rosberg and Premat, recovered from yesterday's blow to take strong fourth and fifth places at the chequered flag after they started from 23th and 24th in the grid.

Kovalainen took some air in the championship as he now leads with 77 points, 10 ahead Rosberg. Scott Speed continues as a strong third with 50, while the fight behind him has Premat and Jani with 37, Adam Carroll with 34 and Gianmaria Bruni with 33.

Betweeen the teams, ART leads over Arden, 99 to 83. Super Nova is third with 55. iSport and Racing Engineering are in a hard battle for fourth 38 to 34.

Tomorrow's sprint racew will have Alex Negrao on the pole alongside Olivier Pla, and expert in Sunday races, in the front row. Rosberg starts from fourth and will try to cut the gap with Kovalainen in the championship.

shares
comments
Hungaroring: Renault race two report
Previous article

Hungaroring: Renault race two report

Next article

Hungaroring race one results

Hungaroring race one results
Load comments
What next for "too politically incorrect" for F1 Ticktum? Prime

What next for "too politically incorrect" for F1 Ticktum?

Having by his own admission "blown my chances" of reaching Formula 1, Dan Ticktum is facing an uncertain future. A driver of unquestioned ability who has at times been his own worst enemy, can he apply his lessons and rebuild his career hopes?

FIA F2
Sep 30, 2021
How Piastri could be forced to spend 2022 on the bench Prime

How Piastri could be forced to spend 2022 on the bench

Tipped as the next big thing after winning the FIA Formula 3 championship in his rookie season, Oscar Piastri has taken Formula 2 by storm and looks set to clinch that title too. But with no Formula 1 seat available to him for next year, the Alpine junior may have to wait for his time in the spotlight…

FIA F2
Sep 24, 2021
How Campos Racing has bounced back from its devastating loss Prime

How Campos Racing has bounced back from its devastating loss

After the sudden death of its founder in January, Formula 2 stalwart Campos Racing was left facing its hardest season to date. But new team boss Adrian Jr is determined to honour his father’s legacy and has returned the team to its winning ways

FIA F2
Sep 20, 2021
How F2 and F3's flawed format changes could prove shortlived Prime

How F2 and F3's flawed format changes could prove shortlived

After a chaotic 2020, marred by the coronavirus pandemic, the FIA brought in radical changes to Formula 2 and 3. But less than 12 months later, there are talks of them being reversed after all did not go to plan…

FIA F2
Sep 9, 2021
The Red Bull F1 junior aiming to defy geographical odds Prime

The Red Bull F1 junior aiming to defy geographical odds

It's a long way from Pukekohe New Zealand to Milton Keynes, but Red Bull's Kiwi protege Liam Lawson has defied plenty of odds to reach the rung below F1. He's endured disappointment since winning on his F2 debut in Bahrain, but is determined to turn his season around and prove himself worthy of a place on the F1 grid

FIA F2
Jul 27, 2021
How Red Bull's next F1 hopeful turned around his season Prime

How Red Bull's next F1 hopeful turned around his season

Having impressed in Formula 3, Juri Vips looked to be next cab off the rank in Red Bull's prestigious Junior Team before his 2020 schedule was dealt a heavy blow by the COVID-19 pandemic. After a tough start to life in Formula 2, Vips is showing signs of a recovery - could he be the first Estonian to reach Formula 1?

FIA F2
Jun 14, 2021
How F1 hopeful Pourchaire is re-writing the F2 record books Prime

How F1 hopeful Pourchaire is re-writing the F2 record books

He'd marked himself out as a star of the future in last year's FIA Formula 3 championship, but 17-year-old Theo Pourchaire underlined his credentials by winning his first Formula 2 race in the Monaco feature. Sauber junior status gives him a clear route to the top, but with wisdom beyond his years, he's not getting caught up in his own hype.

FIA F2
Jun 3, 2021
The F1 hopeful living two lives to keep his dream alive Prime

The F1 hopeful living two lives to keep his dream alive

Having lost his backing from Red Bull, Richard Verschoor has had to graft to continue his ascent up the single-seater ladder. An impressive Formula 2 debut in Bahrain, despite the lateness of his deal, shows his unorthodox approach is paying dividends.

FIA F2
Apr 22, 2021