Conway finishes in top five again
16 September 2007 – British single-seater star Mike Conway stormed to his second top five finish of the GP2 Series weekend at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium on Sunday, despite making a terrible start when his car almost stalled twice.
Mike started fourth after his fifth place in Saturday's feature race, but his hopes for an even better run took a hit straight away. As the starting lights went out, Mike's engine bogged down, as the anti-stall system kicked in despite him using full revs.
"I grabbed the clutch, tried again, and again it bogged down," said Mike. "At the second time, effectively my third start, it pulled away, but I'd lost many places into the first corner."
Fortunately for Mike, some collisions ahead meant he was able to pick his way through the chaos, but was now down in 10th. Just like yesterday, he then went on the charge: "I knew the first lap would be the only time I'd be able to pass some cars, so I really went for it. I can't remember exactly who or how many I passed, but it was a lot!"
Mike got ahead of Sebastien Buemi and Bruno Senna on the opening lap, then powered past Vitaly Petrov to run seventh on lap two. Javier Villa's drive-through penalty for a jump start gave him sixth place and a place in the points, but Mike's next obstacle was his own Super Nova International team-mate Luca Filippi.
"I was quicker than him, but just couldn't get past," said Mike. "As soon as I got behind him, I lost 1sec from my lap times immediately. He was really holding me up. Finally, I got past him by pressuring him into a mistake."
Filippi outbraked himself into the Les Combes sequence of corners, bouncing across the grass and back onto the track, just as Mike was rounding the left-hand element: "I just hoped he wouldn't come back on and hit me," said Mike.
Now fifth, Mike charged up to the leading group, but although he got close to Ho-Pin Tung, he ran out of time to get past him.
"I made a couple of small mistakes exiting the hairpin," said Mike. "The car was really good, and had more consistent grip than yesterday, and although I felt much quicker than the cars ahead, I just didn't get the chance to attack them."
The GP2 series is the final stepping stone on a drivers path to Formula One, and with the races taking place at the Grands Prix, is a showcase of their talents in front of their peers and the F1 paddock. Conway is reigning British F3 champion and graduated to the GP2 series for this season.
The final GP2 round is at Valencia in Spain in a fortnight's time. Mike said: "I was quick in testing there, so I'm really looking forward to it. I really want to win a race before the end of the season, so this will be my last chance."