Monza: Filippi Ends Season As Gp2 Runner-Up
Luca Filippi today became the GP2 2011 vice champion driving for Scuderia Coloni. The all-italian pairing managed to hit the target they were aiming for in this second part of the season thanks to a 5th place finish in today's Race 2, grabbed with a very clever team strategy that worked flawlessly.
In order to secure the runner-up spot in the standings, the Italian driver had to finish ahead of Pic (who was 1 point ahead) and close to Bianchi, who was starting from pole thanks to the reversed grid.
It wasn't an easy task because Luca was starting from P8 after yesterday's win, but he and the team achieved it anyway despite a very hot and eventful first lap. That was because even if Luca was very quick off the line, at the first corner his race was very close to be ruined: Pic missed his braking point and crashed into Grosjean, and then with a damaged steering he drove into the left side of Filippi's car. The impact was heavy and resulted in damage to the front wing and the left bargeboard, and as a consequence Filippi immediately started to suffer from understeer. Anyway, this wasn't enough to slow him down: on lap 1 he passed both Clos and Gutierrez to take P6, and on the following one he overtook Carroll at the first corner, grabbing the fifth spot.
With Bianchi running in 3rd place Luca was already second in the standings, tied on points with the Frenchman but ahead having clinched more wins. Anyway, in order to avoid any risk, the team asked Luca to look after his tyres and keep some rubber to go for the fastest lap in the final part of the race, so trying to secure an extra point: Filippi followed the plan, and after some careful laps he started pushing again, posting a 1'32”567 that nobody could match.
Taking those 3 points Filippi secured second place in the standings, the icing on the cake of an amazing final part of the season. To give a better idea of how impressive this achievement was, it's useful to go through the results that the team and Filippi clinched since they are together: in just four rounds of the championship the all-italian pairing took three wins, one third place, three fastest laps and four front rows in qualifying. It's an impressive pace that has an impressive consequence: in the last four races nobody took as many points as Luca. The italian driver's tally amounts to 45, while Series champion Grosjean got 42.
Paolo Coloni: “I can't find the words to describe the emotions that this second place with Luca is giving us. Today was just incredible, our feelings went from fear, when he was hit by Pic, to joy when he crossed the line, doing exactly what we asked him even with a damaged car.
We knew that we had to do our race on Bianchi and we did that, sealing the runner-up spot with that fastest lap. What we did in just four rounds is unbelievable, the team guys were flawless and now it's really time to celebrate”.
Luca Filippi: “I can't believe what we did. If somebody would have said this to me in Nurburgring, when we started racing together, I would have answered no way, because I had a too big gap to close. Our only chance to make it was being perfect in each weekend and that's what we did, but how we did it was amazing. More than fourty points in just four rounds, three wins, four first rows, I'm a bit overwhelmed! I want to say thanks again to these guys, they gave me a new life and together we have something special, something I never experienced before. Now it's time to party, we deserve it”.