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GP Week : Issue 47
Grosjean’s smash and grab ROMAIN Grosjean laid down an ominous marker to anyone hoping to challenge him for GP2 title honours in 2009 with a dominant display around the streets of Monaco. Grosjean, as had been the case in Barcelona two weeks previously, was the man to beat from the outset. Quickest in practice, he duly took pole position by half a second from his team- mate Vitaly Petrov. The first race was all about Grosjean, as the Frenchman led imperiously to record his second win of the season, and with Petrov behind him, Addax’s second 1-2 in as many events. Third on the day was Lucas di Grassi, but the Brazilian, along with seven of his fellow GP2 drivers, was slapped with a 25s penalty after the race for cutting the first corner. Why such a decision couldn’t have been made during the race by the stewards was anyone’s guess, as a drive-through penalty early on would have given fans of the championship a far better understanding of the real positions, and negated any need for the stewards to appear over-officious in the aftermath. Third, therefore, went to Andi Zuber, with di Grassi slipping to fourth, Nico Hulkenberg fifth, Jerome d’Ambrosio sixth, Karun Chandhok seventh and Pastor Maldonado eighth after Alvaro Parente and Edoardo Mortara made contact in the final laps. The second race saw Maldonado, 30 pictured right, on pole, and on a track at which he usually flies everyone expected him to walk the sprint race. He didn’t. Chandhok blasted off the line and into a lead he never really looked like losing. Even when Maldonado upped the pressure, Chandhok simply pulled a gap back out again and settled into his race with apparent ease. But luck can be a cruel mistress, and with two thirds of the contest under his belt, the Indian’s driveshaft decided it had been busy enough for one day and let go. The win was therefore handed to Maldonado, but not before a scary end to the race. With Chandhok out, Zuber and Grosjean were scrapping over fifth position, and into the chicane Zuber got it all wrong. As Grosjean tried to find a way through at Tabac, the Austrian covered the inside and then moved back onto the racing line. Grosjean had nowhere to go but over Zuber’s rear wing and up into the air, smashing into the catch fencing and barriers. Luckily the championship leader was unhurt, but the race was red flagged and Maldonado took the win from d’Ambrosio, his third podium in four races, and Nico Hulkenberg. The result means Grosjean leaves Monaco on 31 points with Petrov second on 16 and d’Ambrosio third on 13. In the teams’championship Addax lead the way on 49, with DAMS second on 21 and ART third on 20. Next stop Turkey, and that’s one of Grosjean’s favourite tracks …