Max ChiltonMax Chilton and Mikhail Aleshin completed another competitive round of the 2011 GP2 Series, following yesterday’s Sprint race at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona. Chilton fought hard but was held up in the final stages of the race and crossed the line 11th while his team mate recovered from stall on the grid to finish 18th.

With finishing positions from Saturday’s Feature race setting the grid positions for Sunday’s Sprint, Chilton lined up 12th, with Aleshin 16th on the grid. Chilton made a good start while Aleshin made an uncharacteristic mistake and stalled on the grid. Chilton soon found himself in the middle of the action as he drove into a collection of debris following an accident between front runners Jules Bianchi and Geido van der Garde. With carbon fragments entering the cockpit and Chilton’s helmet, the Carlin driver backed off and lost a couple of places in the run to the second corner.

The inevitable safety car bunched up the pack at the end of lap one, and stayed out for five laps while marshals cleared the track. In contrast to the last races in Istanbul, it was rather a processional race, until the final five laps when the action kicked off again.

Chilton had done well to preserve his tyres in the early part of the race and soon found himself considerably quicker than tenth placed man Rodolfo Gonzalez. Chilton looked threatening on several occasions and tried a move around the outside of turn 1. The move didn’t quite come off however, as Gonzalez squeezed the Carlin man, with Chilton forced to back off to avoid an accident. That allowed two other cars past, but Chilton wasn’t about to settle for 13th.

The British racer kept fighting and passed Julian Leal and Jonny Cecotto to take back 11th and began closing in again on Gonzalez. However, with only a few laps left, Chilton ran out of time and had to settle for 11th place. Team mate Aleshin meanwhile had had his work cut out following his difficult start and crossed the line 18th.

Speaking about this race, Chilton said, “The car felt awesome in race two. It was really good, but unfortunately I got held up by traffic. We were able to manage the tyre wear a lot better in race two which gave me quite a bit of pace towards the end of the race. Pace wise we’re really making good progress as a team and I’m already looking forward to the next round at Monaco this weekend which will be a different kind of challenge.”