Barwa Addax Team had a second place on the podium at the legendary Italian circuit of Monza and have picked up lots of points after a great weekend by both team and drivers. Johnny Cecotto, made podium for the 4th time this season after finishing 2nd in the first race and he followed that up with a gutsy 5th place finish in the second race. Jake Rosenzweig, made a good debut finishing both races.
Johnny Cecotto, once again has shown this weekend that he is a driver of great talent. He started the weekend with the 13th fastest time in free practice, due to a few problems with the set up of his car. In qualification he and the team started to get things right and used the best strategy possible.
Johnny was sanctioned 5 positions after an incident in Spa and he knew that he was not going to be able to start from the front of the grid, so the team decided to reserve two new sets of tires for the race so that he could at least set the fastest race lap time. He was 3rd fastest in qualifying thanks to the improvements made on the car after free practice.
He was forced to start from 8th on the grid after the penalty imposed on him by the race stewards. He made a great start but was unable to make up the positions he had been hoping for mainly due to the fact that he was impeded by van der Garde on the first corner, blocking his progress.
Despite this he managed to make up three positions on an excellent first lap. He was fighting to pass Valsecchi on the first few laps, demonstrating that he had a much better race rhythm. He pitted later than all his rivals in the leading group and got the most out of his first set of new tyres.
After a very good pit stop by the team he came back out on track in 3rd position, just ahead of Ericsson and had to work hard to defend his placing from the constant attacks of his rival. He was then able to up his pace and managed to reach Chilton in front and eventually pass him on the finish straight to cross the chequered flag in 2nd position.
Cecotto drove an almost perfect 1st race and was capable of taking full advantage of both new sets of tyres, The strategy of reserving tyres for the race had worked out just right for him and the team.
The 2nd shorter Sprint race was almost as good as the first for Johnny Cecotto. He started this time from 7th and started well but Gutierrez caught him from behind and pushed him against another car. He lost four positions on the main straight and the collision caused him some steering problems.
He managed to pick up two positions in what was an eventful first lap and from that point on he attacked the cars in front in a spectacular fightback, including a fastest race lap time. With 8 laps to go he overtook Leal and two laps later Chilton was his next victim in a very risky move with three drivers going into the chicane together.
His tyres started suffering from degrading, but not only was he able to hold off Chilton’s continuous attacks but on the last lap he managed to get past Ericsson. A really great feat considering that Cecotto’s steering was not in good shape caused by the impact at the start of the race.
Rookie driver, Jake Rosenzweig, dedicated the free practice session getting to know the car. He improved in qualifying but was unfortunate because a yellow flag ruined his efforts just as he was setting his fastest lap time and with his tyres in perfect condition. He made a great start but like his team mate he was hampered at the first chicane by Giedo whose car was almost at a stand still.
His inexperience at this level and not being sure how much he could get out of the car and the tyres, meant that he drove quite conservatively until his obligatory pit stop. He boxed in a good moment and was able to fightback and finish in a creditable 18th position. His rhythm in the second stint was much better and he was able to set similar times to the drivers out in front.
Jake Rosenzweig, also drove a very good second race. After starting the sprint race from 18th position on the grid he managed to keep pace with the main peloton of drivers, until he was hit by Onidi which meant he fell back with a damaged front wing.
Little by little he managed to pick up his race rhythm once more and he was able to reach the main group of drivers, all of whom have much more experience in this class and all of this with a damaged front wing. It can be said that the American driver made a very good debut.
Barwa Addax Team once more have been one of the top points scoring teams this weekend despite having to introduce a rookie driver and have now consolidated their position in the middle of the overall classification. Johnny Cecotto, moves up to 9th position in the driver’s championship and is in the select group of drivers who have scored more than 100 points in the GP2 class.
Jake Rosenzweig left a very good impression on his debut, showing a really professional attitude throughout the whole weekend.
There is only one event remaining in this season’s GP2 Series championship which will take place at the Singapore Street circuit as part of the F1 weekend between the 21st and the 23rd of September. Nothing has been decided yet so it should be an interesting weekend.
Johnny Cecotto, official Barwa Addax Team driver: “This was an amazing weekend! In qualifying everything went perfect, we had a perfect lap with the perfect slipstream and all of this with just one set of tyres which put us into P3. In race 1 I had to start from P8 for the penalty I received in Spa.
I had a good start and I managed to gain 3 places in the first lap, at that point I was a bit stuck behind Valsecchi who didn't want to let me pass but when the cars in front pitted I could push hard and gain time. Our pit stop was very good and when I came back on track I was already P3.
I had a bit of a difficulty when I came out to defend from Ericsson the first lap but then my pace was good and I could catch and overtake Chilton for P2. After that I closed the gap onto the lead to 4 seconds but more was impossible also because Filippi changed only 2 tyres and that makes a time difference in the pits of about 3 seconds.
In race 2 the only bad thing was the start when Gutierrez hit me without any reason and I lost a lot of places and the steering was bent after that. Nevertheless I could fit my way back through the field from P12 to P5 just 1 tenth behind P4 with a lot of overtaking maneuvers. ”
Source: Barwa Addax Team