Race of my life: Karun Chandhok on 2008 Silverstone GP2 race

As Motorsport.com launches the latest episode in its Race of My Life podcast series, we revisit the race former Hispania Racing and Team Lotus Formula 1 driver Karun Chandhok picked as his best - the 2008 Silverstone GP2 feature race.

Race of my life: Karun Chandhok on 2008 Silverstone GP2 race

Race: 2008 Silverstone GP2 feature race

Car: Dallara GP2/08

We'd been at Magny-Cours before that race and my iSport teammate Bruno Senna was on a good run of qualifying results. I was getting a little bit on the back foot and annoyed at my own qualifying. I either had traffic or made mistakes, it was a bit of a tough time.

Silverstone was a circuit I always loved and went well at. I know it so well because I worked there as an instructor, lived in Brackley, raced in British Formula 3 - it was effectively my adopted home circuit.

I was really pumped up for it and in qualifying I was on a really good lap. I came through Bridge flat and as I turned left into Priory, Andy Soucek was trundling along at the apex so I had to abort the lap. I was on course to be about fourth so I was furious.

I came into the pits, got out and started running down the pitlane with my helmet on and started giving Andy a mouthful. To his credit, he immediately apologised, which disarmed me! I didn't know what else to do but just walk back quietly.

More in Race of My Life series:

The next day it was baking hot, with a track temperature of mid to high-30s. My race engineer Richard Selwin said, 'How about we try a softer rear spring?', because it felt like it was going to be a race where we'd be tyre limited.

With the Bridgestones back then, tyre deg wasn't a conversation that you had as much as we do in the Pirelli era. It was part of a bigger set-up conversation, but that day we looked at the ambient temperature and thought it could be an issue.

We went for the softer rear spring and Bruno didn't want to do it - he was happy where he was at. That was one of the key decisions that helped me out.

I started 10th and made a couple of places off the start, but I had really good pace. I passed Soucek around the outside of Stowe, which was quite nice, and picked my way up. With that generation of car you could still follow in the high-speed corners - the front wing was relatively simple and we had the tunnels to produce good downforce.

The field that year was a particularly strong year - Giorgio Pantano, Lucas di Grassi, Senna, Romain Grosjean, Vitaly Petrov, Pastor Maldonado, Sebastien Buemi. Some really quality drivers. And 10 teams out of 13 won a race that season.

After the stops I passed Grosjean down the inside into Stowe. But as I came out there was a yellow flag and I had to brake and let him past again. Then I got by at Brooklands, diving down the inside over the kerb and we banged wheels. It needed a bit of co-operation!

I was probably three or four laps away from catching di Grassi, who ran into tyre trouble. Every time I came down Hangar Straight I could see him getting closer to me but I needed more laps because my tyres were still in pretty good shape.

 

It was relief to be third after a tough weekend at Magny-Cours and a rubbish day on Friday. I had worked with the team to set the car up in the way I wanted it and had enough conviction that it was the right direction. It was also the fact we came from behind. I went from 10th to third because I overtook people - good drivers - on track, not because they fell off.

The car was mega that day, so good to drive. The second lap of the race I did a 1m33.1s and the last lap was a 1m33.5s - you don't get that type of race anymore where you can push like hell all the way through in F2.

It was a helluva race, which showed off the best of GP2.

Interview by Alex Kalinauckas and Kevin Turner

Giorgio Pantano celebrates victory on the podium with Lucas di Grassi and Karun Chandhok

Giorgio Pantano celebrates victory on the podium with Lucas di Grassi and Karun Chandhok

Photo by: GP2 Series Media Service

shares
comments
Alesi fearful of sponsor crisis in F1's junior categories
Previous article

Alesi fearful of sponsor crisis in F1's junior categories

Next article

Red Bull junior Daruvala eyeing F1 race seat in 2021

Red Bull junior Daruvala eyeing F1 race seat in 2021
Load comments
How Drugovich plans on becoming Brazil's first F1 driver since 2017 Prime

How Drugovich plans on becoming Brazil's first F1 driver since 2017

With a chaotic but “pretty much perfect” FIA Formula 2 weekend in Saudi Arabia behind him, Felipe Drugovich now leads the drivers’ standings in his third crack at the series. The Brazilian driver reveals how he ended up back on the grid after what he thought would be his last year in the series, and shares his F1 aspirations.

FIA F2
Apr 1, 2022
Dennis Hauger: The Red Bull junior aiming to emulate Piastri in F2 Prime

Dennis Hauger: The Red Bull junior aiming to emulate Piastri in F2

Norwegian talent Dennis Hauger has a tough act to follow in Oscar Piastri’s footsteps on his graduation to F2 as the reigning F3 champion with Prema. Here’s what he makes of the task ahead of him.

FIA F2
Mar 16, 2022
Ranking the 10 best drivers who raced for DAMS Prime

Ranking the 10 best drivers who raced for DAMS

DAMS has been one of the most prolific teams below Formula 1 since its foundation in 1989, launching 32 drivers into grand prix racing. Following the team's sale to ex-F1 racer Charles Pic, formally closing the book on the ownership of the Driot family, Motorsport.com picks out its 10 best drivers during their spell with the team.

FIA F2
Feb 27, 2022
Why Marcus Armstrong hopes ‘coming home’ can reopen doors to F1 Prime

Why Marcus Armstrong hopes ‘coming home’ can reopen doors to F1

After a disappointing 2021, Marcus Armstrong is returning to FIA Formula 2 for another shot at the title in 2022 with Hitech – this time without the backing of Ferrari. This year, he says, he’s ready to give it his all in a last-shot bid to reach Formula 1.

FIA F2
Feb 19, 2022
The hardships that haven’t dented Logan Sargeant's F1 dream Prime

The hardships that haven’t dented Logan Sargeant's F1 dream

Faced with “no options” for 2021, Logan Sargeant’s Formula 1 dream looked set to crumble. But a last-minute Formula 3 seat and a strong season secured him a Formula 2 drive for 2022. He told Motorsport.com how his transformative season affected both his personality and his future.

FIA F3
Jan 29, 2022
Oscar Piastri: The F1 junior that has run out of places to prove himself Prime

Oscar Piastri: The F1 junior that has run out of places to prove himself

The dominant force of the junior single-seater ranks finds himself without a drive for 2022, but it isn’t stopping Oscar Piastri from plotting his path to the top. With Alpine potentially set for a driver dilemma for 2023, the newly-crowned Formula 2 champion is ready and waiting for his F1 shot.

FIA F2
Dec 14, 2021
What next for "too politically incorrect" for F1 Ticktum? Prime

What next for "too politically incorrect" for F1 Ticktum?

Having by his own admission "blown my chances" of reaching Formula 1, Dan Ticktum is facing an uncertain future. A driver of unquestioned ability who has at times been his own worst enemy, can he apply his lessons and rebuild his career hopes?

FIA F2
Sep 30, 2021
How Piastri could be forced to spend 2022 on the bench Prime

How Piastri could be forced to spend 2022 on the bench

Tipped as the next big thing after winning the FIA Formula 3 championship in his rookie season, Oscar Piastri has taken Formula 2 by storm and looks set to clinch that title too. But with no Formula 1 seat available to him for next year, the Alpine junior may have to wait for his time in the spotlight…

FIA F2
Sep 24, 2021