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GP Week : Issue 191
Like magnets that repel and attract, a series of brilliant starts, tyre blowouts and safety Cars brought together a Pan-American battle more intense than a uFC death match. The award for best start of the race went to Pastor Maldonado, who managed to propel his Williams faster than a speeding bullet from 18th on the grid to an unfathomable ninth by the end of the first lap. That ninth soon became eleventh as the field sorted itself out, and the Venezuelan racer found himself under pressure from Sergio Perez, who had his elbows out after aggressively forcing Paul di Resta off track at Turn 2. Perez brought out the first Safety Car when his front-right tyre exploded on the long run to Turn 4 on lap 31; the blowout was the consequence of a severe lock-up at the end of the main straight. Felipe Massa was meanwhile fighting his way back from the rear of the grid after a first lap spin at Turn 3, in the process gaining on the Sauber of Esteban Gutierrez. Another aggressive move by Perez – this time on Massa – left the Ferrari driver fuming on his radio about contact made to his right rear tyre. In full recovery mode, the Brazilian made contact with Perez under braking into Turn 1 in his attempt to fight back up through the field. That battle brought the pair within millimetres of the Maldonado- Gutierrez fight, leading to a four-way Latin battle as the South and Central Americans fought hard for the final points-paying position. DRS was at the ready on all four cars but nobody wanted to be the last one to use it lest he turn from hunter into hunted as the quartet started the final lap – a scene reminiscent of the four-way slipstreaming battle for the lead at Monza in 1971. A wobble from Gutierrez while dicing with the Williams left Perez with no track space while opening the door for Massa to make his move – an opportunity the Brazilian racer was not going to let slip past. With superior traction on the inside line, Massa drove past his three Latin rivals and on to a respectable ninth-place finish – a decent comeback from the back of the grid. Latin lovers? Make that fighters ... 33 GPWEEK.com // 33 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> KOREA