The 2006 GP2 Series season was the second season of the Formula One feeder championship GP2 Series. The season began at Circuit de Valencia, Spain on 8 April 2006 and ended in Monza, Italy on 10 September 2006. The championship was won by ART Grand Prix driver Lewis Hamilton, over Piquet Sports driver Nelson Piquet Jr.
The 2006 specification GP2 Car was designed by Dallara Automobili. The 2006 GP2 car featured a biplane rear wing, with the triplane rear wing used in 2005 only to be used at the Monaco race. The front upper and lower wishbones were reinforced, as were the front and rear suspension uprights.
The 4 litre V8 engine featured internal, cartographic and software upgrades designed to improve performance and fuel consumption.
The 2006 gearbox was manufactured by GearTek, and featured an 8 position barrel, with ratchet body and software upgrades, as well as a new transverse shafts fixing system designed to facilitate improved gear selection.
The tyres supplied by Bridgestone for the 2006 season were full-slick, not featuring the four-line grooved slick seen in the 2005 season. Bridgestone supplied a soft, medium, and hard compound tyre, with the tyre choice being made by Bridgestone and the GP2 Series prior to each event. The wet specification tyre remained the same as 2005.
Brembo supplied a new development of monobloc brake calipers and disc bells, which were exclusive to GP2. The car also featured internal cooling upgrades, a new water radiator, radiator duct, oil and water heat exchanger, modified oil degasser, new oil and water pipes and new heat exchanger fixing brackets.
The only change to the sporting regulations for the 2006 season was that drivers would only be awarded a single point for fastest lap in a race, rather than the two points that were awarded in 2005. The driver also had to start the race from his allocated grid position to be eligible to claim the fastest lap.
Nelson Piquet, Jr. won the first race at Valencia ahead of two rookies, Lewis Hamilton and Adrián Vallés. The latter failed to score in the rest of the season apart from one point for fastest lap at Barcelona. In a sprint race, Vallés was involved in a collision with Adam Carroll who rolled multiple times. The sprint race was won by Michael Ammermüller who had promising start to the season but failed to score during last six weekends.
Gianmaria Bruni and Ernesto Viso then shared victories at Imola, where Hamilton failed to score, after being black-flagged in the feature race and therefore starting the sprint race from back of the grid. Hamilton won both races at Nürburgring, after Piquet took pole position but had a big crash following car failure in the feature race. He also failed to score in the sprint.
Hamilton was on course to win feature race at Barcelona, but he collided with his teammate Alexandre Prémat on the last lap. The Frenchman went on to win with Hamilton second. Viso took his second victory of the season by winning the sprint. Hamilton then won three races in a row, including at Monaco where Nicolas Lapierre and Olivier Pla were injured and did not start. At his home circuit in Silverstone, Hamilton won the feature and then the sprint, where he overtook Clivio Piccione and Piquet in one move.
There were few notable driver changes during the early season. Giorgio Pantano returned to the series with after missing the first three rounds and Timo Glock moved from BCN to iSport between the Monaco and British rounds. Both were serious contenders for race wins for the rest of the season and they shared victories at Magny-Cours. Glock also won at Hockenheim after overtaking José María López on the final lap.
At this point, Hamilton had a 26-point lead over Piquet, but the Brazilian bounced back with a perfect weekend at Hungary, taking pole, two wins and two fastest laps. Hamilton spun in qualifying and started the feature race from back of the grid. He failed to score there but took second place in the wet Sunday sprint.
Piquet's form continued in Turkey, where he won the feature race from pole. Hamilton was second, and in the sprint, he recovered from an early spin to take second place, while Piquet had to settle for fifth. Andreas Zuber took advantage of his front row starting position and won the race.
Hamilton led by ten points before final weekend in Monza. Piquet cut the lead to eight by taking pole. Pantano beat both of them in the feature race and set the fastest lap as well. Piquet finished second and Hamilton third, meaning that the championship would be decided in final race. However, Pantano was deemed to have ignored yellow flags on his fastest lap so that time was disallowed, giving a point to Hamilton who now clinched the title. Pantano made a fantastic start in the sprint and went from 8th to 1st before first corner, and went on to win the race. Hamilton followed and took 2nd, beating Piquet by 12 points in the end.
|ART Grand Prix||1||Alexandre Prémat||All|
|Arden International||3||Michael Ammermüller||All|
|4||Nicolas Lapierre||1-5, 8-11|
|Super Nova Racing||5||José María López||All|
|iSport International||7||E.J. Viso||All|
|Racing Engineering||9||Adam Carroll||All|
|Piquet Sports||11||Nelson Piquet, Jr.||All|
|12||Alexandre Sarnes Negrão||All|
|Petrol Ofisi FMS International||16||Luca Filippi||1-3|
|BCN Competicion||18||Hiroki Yoshimoto||All|
|DPR Direxiv||20||Olivier Pla||1-5, 7|
|Durango||22||Lucas di Grassi||All|
|Campos Racing||24||Adrián Vallés||All|
|Trident Racing||26||Gianmaria Bruni||All|
|1||F||Cheste, Spain||Circuit de Valencia||8 April||Stand-alone event|
|2||F||Imola, Italy||Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari||22 April||San Marino Grand Prix|
|3||F||Nürburg, Germany||Nürburgring||6 May||European Grand Prix|
|4||F||Montmeló, Spain||Circuit de Catalunya||13 May||Spanish Grand Prix|
|5||F||Monaco||Circuit de Monaco||27 May||Monaco Grand Prix|
|6||F||Silverstone, Great Britain||Silverstone Circuit||10 June||British Grand Prix|
|7||F||Magny-Cours, France||Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours||15 July||French Grand Prix|
|8||F||Hockenheim, Germany||Hockenheimring||29 July||German Grand Prix|
|9||F||Mogyoród, Hungary||Hungaroring||5 August||Hungarian Grand Prix|
|10||F||Istanbul, Turkey||Istanbul Park||26 August||Turkish Grand Prix|
|11||F||Monza, Italy||Autodromo Nazionale Monza||9 September||Italian Grand Prix|
|Round||Circuit||Pole Position||Fastest Lap||Winning Driver||Winning Team||Report|
|1||F||Circuit de Valencia||Nelson Piquet, Jr.||Nicolas Lapierre||Nelson Piquet, Jr.||Piquet Sports||Report|
|S||Andreas Zuber[b]||Michael Ammermüller||Arden International|
|2||F||Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari||Gianmaria Bruni||Adrián Vallés[c]||Gianmaria Bruni||Trident Racing||Report|
|S||Ernesto Viso||Ernesto Viso||iSport International|
|3||F||Nürburgring||Nelson Piquet, Jr.||Lewis Hamilton||Lewis Hamilton||ART Grand Prix||Report|
|S||Alexandre Prémat[d]||Lewis Hamilton||ART Grand Prix|
|4||F||Circuit de Catalunya||Nelson Piquet, Jr.||Adrián Vallés||Alexandre Prémat||ART Grand Prix||Report|
|S||Gianmaria Bruni||Ernesto Viso||iSport International|
|5||F||Circuit de Monaco||Lewis Hamilton||Lucas di Grassi||Lewis Hamilton||ART Grand Prix||Report|
|6||F||Silverstone Circuit||Adam Carroll||Lewis Hamilton||Lewis Hamilton||ART Grand Prix||Report|
|S||Lewis Hamilton||Lewis Hamilton||ART Grand Prix|
|7||F||Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours||José María López||Lewis Hamilton||Timo Glock||iSport International||Report|
|S||José María López[e]||Giorgio Pantano||Petrol Ofisi FMS International|
|8||F||Hockenheimring||Gianmaria Bruni||Alexandre Prémat||Gianmaria Bruni||Trident Racing||Report|
|S||Lucas di Grassi[f]||Timo Glock||iSport International|
|9||F||Hungaroring||Nelson Piquet, Jr.||Nelson Piquet, Jr.||Nelson Piquet, Jr.||Piquet Sports||Report|
|S||Nelson Piquet, Jr.||Nelson Piquet, Jr.||Piquet Sports|
|10||F||Istanbul Racing Circuit||Nelson Piquet, Jr.||Nelson Piquet, Jr.||Nelson Piquet, Jr.||Piquet Sports||Report|
|S||Lewis Hamilton||Andreas Zuber||Trident Racing|
|11||F||Autodromo Nazionale Monza||Nelson Piquet, Jr.||Lewis Hamilton||Giorgio Pantano||Petrol Ofisi FMS International||Report|
|S||Lewis Hamilton||Giorgio Pantano||Petrol Ofisi FMS International|
Polesitter for the feature race on bold. Driver in italics has been awarded point for fastest lap.
|1||ART Grand Prix||1||9||Ret||4||Ret||2||17||1||3||3||6||Ret||2||3||19||Ret||6||3||3||7||5||Ret||180|
|5||Petrol Ofisi FMS International||16||Ret||Ret||11||5||Ret||Ret||9||7||Ret||5||4||6||1||4||5||3||13||Ret||Ret||1||1||46|
|8||Super Nova Racing||5||5||Ret||Ret||19+||4||3||Ret||Ret||NC||Ret||14||3||Ret||7||2||8||Ret||9||11||Ret||Ret||30|