Motorsports Mondial

 

Sitting Pretty, Racing Hard

The Felipe Nasr Way

Three rounds into the 2012 GP2 season and cream is already rising to the top.

Felipe Nasr is the Brazilian flavor. Though signing late to the series he has wasted no time in turning heads and passing competitors on the track.

The Beginning

After a very successful karting career Nasr notched up a podium finish in his first weekend of single-seater racing; in the final round of the 2008 Formula BMW Americas event at Interlagos.

Splash and dash to championship success with über domination was the story when he crossed the big pond and raced in the 2009 Formula BMW Europe series. Nasr was on the podium in 14 of 16 races, taking 5 wins and 6 pole positions. His championship tally was over 100 points from Daniel Juncadella who finished second.

Last year he won his second championship in Europe with victory in the British Formula 3, claiming 7 race victories and out-scoring his nearest opponent, Kevin Magnussen, by 81 points. He signed-off on his F3 campaign with an excellent second place finish in the streets of Macau.

Season opener in Sepang saw Nasr grab a podium finish in his first weekend of GP2 racing. The 2009 Formula BMW Europe and the 2011 British F3 Champion drives for DAMS team. The “A” in the name stands for Rene Arnoux who is no longer associated with the French team.

The Big League

GP2 is the official feeder series and final frontier before Formula 1. Nasr is driving for the French DAMS team which last year took Romain Grosjean to the title. The opening round at Sepang saw Nasr put in an impressive top 10 qualifying effort and was sixth at the end of his maiden GP race.

The sprint race saw Nasr finish third, only 3.4s behind race winner James Calado.

In the second round at Bahrain International Circuit Nasr qualified on the second row in third place for the feature race. Fighting tooth and nail with Johnny Cecotto half way through the race, the two Latin drivers collected – and blamed – each other.

Nasr put in a spirited drive in the sprint race to come back from behind – following a stall on the formation lap – and finish 6th at the end. Both races were won by his experienced teammate Davide Valsecchi.

The GP2 cars and crew stayed behind in Bahrain following the F1 weekend for a standalone event. Past weekend Nasr was 7th on the track but a 20s penalty for a yellow flag violation put him just outside the top 10 and point paying position.

He was able to claim another top 5 finish in the sprint race and is now 8th in championship.

The speed and ease Nasr has displayed in his first few races in GP2 will surely bring him maiden win in the near future.

The same flair was displayed when Nasr raced in this year’s Daytona 24-Hours where he finished third with Michael Shank Racing, prompting the team owner, when asked if he would like to have the Brasilia native back in his team, to comment; “I will make room for him in my team even if I don’t have any.”

It is only a matter of season or two before a team owner in the top echelon of motor racing makes room for this talented driver.

 

— Nasir Hameed

Ola and racing regards from California.

Photos: GP2 Media