Pastor Maldonado (Rapax) and Dani Clos (Racing Engineering) both took race wins in Istanbul on Bridgestones medium specification dry tyre.
Due to the limited use of this venue during the year, the track was extremely green at the start of the weekend and gradually improved with every session run. Such track evolution affects tyre performance with more sliding and low grip shown in the early sessions meaning that the tyres dont work as well as they do
when the circuit rubbers-in.
Saturdays 32 lap feature race was dominated by Maldonado who started well and got ahead of pole sitter Davide Valsecchi (iSport International) by the first corner, crossing the finish line 19.5 seconds clear of the Italian driver. Sam Bird claimed the third step of the podium for ART Grand Prix, his first podium of the series. Maldonado set the quickest time on lap 15 having pitted and changed rear tyres four laps earlier.
Sundays 23 lap sprint race was led from start to finish by Clos, his maiden win in the GP2 Series. Luiz Razia (Rapax) finished second having started from fourth, and Giedo van der Garde (Barwa Addax) took third after lining up fifth on the grid. Clos was awarded the point for fastest lap.
Maldonado is now at the top of the drivers championship standings with 27 points, followed by Clos on 23 and Razia on 20. Rapax extends their lead in the teams championship with 47 points, Barwa Addax Team remaining in second place now on 34. Racing Engineering is in third position with 25 points. The next venue for the GP2 Series will be Valencia where Bridgestones soft compound dry tyre has been allocated for the fourth round, taking place on 25-27 June.
Quote from Hirohide Hamashima Director of Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development
Saturdays race was very entertaining with many overtaking manoeuvres. Pastor Maldonado started well from second on the grid and he pushed the tyres very hard, however he managed them well to finish with such a lead. Some drivers experienced blistering on the front rights due to the severe nature of the circuit and the long triple apex turn eight. However, we do not believe that lap times were dramatically effected because of this, and degradation was reasonable. On Saturday the track conditions were not so improved, there being less grip than expected. On Sunday the tyres showed a similar appearance to race one and were consistent, the track improving only slightly. Congratulations to both race winners for applying their previous knowledge of racing in GP2 here at Istanbul Park.