FER­RARI

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Motor Sport News - - Preview: Team By Team - GP2 POINTS Af­ter 10/22 rounds Pho­tos: LAT

Wins: Poles: Fastest laps: Points: Driv­ers’ ti­tles: Con­struc­tors’ ti­tles:

T

here’s no doubt­ing it has been a dra­matic GP2 sea­son so far. There have been crazy re­sults, large crashes and even a driver be­ing banned – and the se­ries hasn’t even reached its mid­point yet.

The ex­cit­ing na­ture of the open­ing rounds – in­clud­ing the chaotic races at Baku last month – mean that no-one has stamped their author­ity and taken the early ad­van­tage. So we can ex­pect more un­pre­dictable races this week­end.

Con­trast this to last sea­son when Mclaren re­serve driver Stof­fel Van­doorne dom­i­nated the cat­e­gory and was only off the podium once in the four week­ends be­fore the Sil­ver­stone races. This year, the most a driver has vis­ited the ros­trum is just three times.

There­fore it’s no sur­prise that the top six in the stand­ings are very close. But some of the driv­ers in that top six are sur­pris­ing. Take Artem Markelov. The Rus­sian Time racer is fourth in the points, de­spite a lowly 13th last year, his tally boosted by a for­tu­itous win in Monaco when ex­cel­lently-timed vir­tual safety cars and a late pit­stop pro­pelled him from 15th on the grid to vic­tory. Raf­faele Mar­ciello, Mitch Evans and Nor­man Nato cur­rently lead the way.

The three Bri­tish driv­ers in the field will go into their home race boosted by lock­ing out the podium in Aus­tria last week­end. Jor­dan King led home Oliver Row­land and Alex Lynn for a Bri­tish 1-2-3 in the sec­ond race at the Red Bull Ring. This means that Lynn – de­spite be­ing one of the pre-sea­son ti­tle favourites – is no longer top Brit in the stand­ings. Row­land now has that hon­our and is fifth with Lynn two places fur­ther back, but he is still only 15 points off leader Mar­ciello.

One of 2015’s Sil­ver­stone win­ners will be look­ing for a re­peat this year to get his ti­tle challenge back on track. Sergey Sirotkin lan­guishes 10th in the points af­ter a string of re­tire­ments this sea­son, but led through­out the fea­ture race in Bri­tain last year. The other driv­ers on the podium were Alexander Rossi – now in Indycar – and Van­doorne, who had a rare off-week­end in Bri­tain.

Manor’s F1 driver Rio Haryanto won the other race last sea­son, from Mar­ciello and Red Bull ju­nior Pierre Gasly.

Other driv­ers with a good record at Sil­ver­stone in­clude Aussie Evans, who was a win­ner in 2014 and is creep­ing up the points ta­ble this year, while Honda pro­tege Nobuharu Mat­sushita will be seek­ing to make a strong re­turn af­ter be­ing banned for one race for caus­ing chaos on the safety car restarts in Baku.

A Bri­tish driver had not won a For­mula 1 grand prix since James Hunt in 1977. John Wat­son (Mclaren-cos­worth MP4) was the only Bri­ton on the grid at Sil­ver­stone in 1980. At the end of lap three, Gilles Vil­leneuve – run­ning fifth in his Fer­rari 126CK – clipped the kerb in the Wood­cote Chi­cane and took him­self out. Alan Jones (Wil­liams-cos­worth FW07C), and al­most Wat­tie who locked up, just avoided the catch fenc­ing and pressed on. The Re­nault RE30 Tur­bos of Alain Prost and Rene Arnoux led Nel­son Pi­quet’s Brab­hamBT49C un­til the Brazil­ian’s left-front tyre dis­in­te­grated and he went off at Beck­etts. Then Prost’s en­gine failed and Arnoux’s mo­tor wilted. Wat­tie, roared on by the crowd, reeled in the fad­ing French car, and took the lead with eight laps left to score the most pop­u­lar of vic­to­ries. Of the 11 fin­ish­ers, every car was of a dif­fer­ent make.

Lynn: Bri­tish star Sil­ver­stone will host next rounds of GP2

Plenty of in­ci­dents so far in ’16

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