Photo: GP3 Media Service
The GP2 and GP3 seasons concluded at Monza, with Valtteri Bottas being crowned GP3 champion after winning the first of two thrilling races at the legendary Italian circuit…
While ART teammates and title rivals Valtteri Bottas and James Calado locked out the third row in GP3 qualifying at Monza, Adrian Quaife-Hobbs took pole position. The ART duo fought their way to the front of the field during the first race, with Bottas in the lead. Calado tried his hardest to get through in the closing laps but Bottas held on, the points for the victory putting him out of reach of his teammate. Rio Haryanto and Nico Muller traded places several times in the closing stages down Monza’s long straights but it was the Indonesian who took third place ahead of Muller. Simon Trummer, Conor Daly, Antonio Felix da Costa and Mitch Evans completed the points.
Starting from the fourth row of the grid for the second race, Bottas and Calado again enjoyed good starts to move into fourth and fifth off the start. Bottas’ season would end on a low though after he ran into Daly at Ascari, collecting a drive-through penalty and falling down the order. Calado wouldn’t cover himself in glory either. He worked his way into the lead past Evans and Felix da Costa, but Evans later retook the lead. Calado attacked the young Kiwi at the first chicane but ran wide and bounced off the kerb, knocking Evans off into the gravel. Although he was able to finish second behind eventual winner Felix da Costa but ended up with a 20 second penalty. This allowed Haryanto and Muller onto the podium, ahead of Trummer, Callum MacLeod and Quaife-Hobbs, who recovered from a first race off.
Behind Bottas and runner-up Calado, Nigel Melker held onto third overall while Muller climbed to fourth past Quaife-Hobbs and Alexander Sims.
Final drivers’ standings after 8 rounds:
1. Valtteri Bottas, 62 points (+ 10 points)
2. James Calado, 55 (+ 8 )
3. Nigel Melker, 38 (+ 0)
4. Nico Muller, 36 (+ 9)
5. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs, 36 (+ 3)
6. Alexander Sims, 34 (+ 0)
In GP2, the race for second place was the story of the weekend with Romain Grosjean having wrapped the title up at Spa. Giedo van der Garde led the way on arrival in Italy, with Jules Bianchi just one point behind. However, both began the feature race on the back foot when they shared the tenth row of the grid after a disasterous qualifying for both. Meanwhile rivals Charles Pic and Luca Filippi took first and second on the grid. Filippi took the lead from Pic at the start of the race and went onto dominate. Pic held off Grosjean to finish in second and move into the runner-up spot overall, just one point ahead of Filippi. Sam Bird was fourth, ahead of Adam Carroll, Christian Vietoris and Fabio Leimer. Bianchi made it into the points in eighth, also claiming pole for the sprint race.
Bianchi couldn’t keep the lead at the start of Sunday’s race and fell behind Vietoris and Leimer. While Vietoris kept Leimer at bay to record a second win from four races, Filippi moved up from eighth on the grid to fifth. His cause was helped when Pic ran into Grosjean just in front of him at the first corner, putting Pic out of the race and Grosjean in need of a new rear wing (resulting in his first finish outside of the top-four since Valencia). That was enough for Filippi to tie with Bianchi for the runner-up spot, with the Italian’s greater number of wins giving him the place. He made sure though with the bonus point for fastest lap.
Final drivers’ standings after 9 rounds:
1. Romain Grosjean, 89 points (+ 6 points)
2. Luca Filippi, 54 (+ 14)
3. Jules Bianchi, 53 (+ 5)
4. Charles Pic, 52 (+ 10)
5. Giedo van der Garde, 49 (+ 0)
6. Sam Bird, 45 (+ 8 )
Keep an eye out for PaddockScout’s driver-by-driver season reviews for GP2 and GP3 in the coming weeks.
Elsewhere, the Formula 3 Euro Series was in action at Silverstone in support of the 6 hour race. Roberto Merhi moved closer to his title with an absolutely dominant performance in the first race. Marco Wittmann was second, ahead of Daniel Juncadella.
In the second race, guest driver Marco Sorensen took victory after starting second on the reverse grid. The Dane, who was replacing GP3-tied Melker at Mucke, therefore repeated the feat of compatriot Kevin Magnussen who won on a one-off apperance in the Euro Series at Valencia last year. Like Sorensen, he was also racing in the German F3 Cup at the time. Juncadella and Merhi came through to finish second and third.
Merhi led away from pole again in the third race, but was given a drive-through for a jump start. This handed Wittmann a comfortable victory. Despite dropping to eighth after his penalty, Merhi stormed through to second place. Carlos Munoz took the final place on the podium.
Drivers’ standings after 7 of 9 rounds:
1. Roberto Merhi, 304 points (+ 51 points)
2. Marco Wittmann, 228 (+ 39)
3. Daniel Juncadella, 220 (+ 31)
4. Nigel Melker, 180 (absent)
5. Laurens Vanthoor, 164 (+ 24)
6. Felix Rosenqvist, 45 (+ 15)
Driver of the weekend: Luca Filippi – On the pace all weekend and dominant in the first race, the Italian then did what he needed to do in the second race (including getting the fastest lap) to secure the runner-up spot. All six previous GP2 runners-up have gone onto F1.