Petrov claims Saturday thriller
6 June 2009 – Vitaly Petrov took the chequred flag in a high eventful first GP2 race of the weekend in Istanbul. The Russian performed a fantastic double overtaking manourvre to enable him to take control before winning the feature race by a healthy six and a half second margin from Luca Filippi as Davide Valsecchi collected the final podium position.
Petrov's win was set up on the second lap when Filippi bravely threw his car inside race leader Nico Hülkenberg at the final corner: the pair narrowly avoided touching but both slid wide, giving Petrov a narrow but clear line through and into the lead by the end of the front straight, with the Italian slotting in behind him.
The front two made their excuses and left the rest of the field to their madness, with cars overtaking each other constantly up and down the remainder of the field who were running side by side throughout the race. Andreas Zuber looked to be the only other driver to be able to escape the melee when he slid past Hülkenberg, handing the German a large problem in the shape of Alvaro Parente.
Ultimately the Portuguese driver pushed too hard, spinning into retirement at Turn 8 and prompting a safety car period just after Filippi and Zuber had narrowly avoided each other as they escaped from the pits: Petrov was given a free pass in the pits and held on to the top spot ahead of the pair as he set about rebuilding his lead once again.
Behind him the second half of the race was less enjoyable for Zuber, who dropped like a stone over the last laps to fall out of the points: with Filippi holding on for a strong second place, Valsecchi took advantage of a safety car pitstop to leapfrog from tenth on the grid to push his countryman all the way to the flag for third, while Alberto Valerio drove a mature race to slot into fourth place, one ahead of a disappointed Hülkenberg, while Pastor Maldonado, Giedo van der Garde and Javier Villa rounded out the points.
But Petrov's win, along with his fastest lap, was enough to propel the Russian to second place in the championship table with 29 points, just two behind his championship leading teammate Romain Grosjean who retired from today's race, while Jérôme d'Ambrosio clings on to third on 18 points ahead of Maldonado, Hülkenberg and Filippi.