Renault boys in the wars in Monza
Renault Driver Development squad members Jose Maria Lopez and Lucas di Grassi both lost potential points scoring positions after being innocent victims of other people's accidents in the Saturday race at Monza.
Having qualified the Super Nova car 14th Jose was involved in a bump at the first corner, but subsequently he moved up the field. He looked set to finish well inside the top eight until on the 18th lap he was hit from behind by Timo Glock at the entry to the high-speed Parabolica corner. He managed to continue, but damage to the exhausts and rear wing meant he had no choice but to call at the pits and retire.
It was a similar story for Lucas. From 21st on the grid he decided to stay out and make a late pit stop, eventually coming in during a safety car period having got into the top five. That left him 10th, but soon afterwards a tangle between two other cars at the first chicane damaged the front wing of the Durango entry. After a pit stop he continued and was able to salvage 10th, but he would have been in the top six without the incident.
The Sunday sprint race will be the final chance of the season to score points. Lucas will start the race from 10th place, and Jose from 16th.
Jose Maria Lopez: 'My start was very good actually, but at the first chicane Ammermueller braked a little bit too much, so I hit him with my nose. So since the start the car wasn't really great. I was slowly moving up in the field, and I was a bit quicker than Glock, so I passed him. When I arrived in the last corner he braked really late and hit me like he didn't slow at all. I don't know if he was watching the mirrors or missed the braking point, because it was quite a big shunt. It's always the same story, I've been a bit unlucky this year. I really, really wanted to finish in the top eight to have a decent race tomorrow.'
Lucas di Grassi: 'The problem I had in qualifying was fixed and I had good pace in the race. Everything was going well, and people ahead of me were crashing like I've never seen before, so I was overtaking them! After the safety car and the pit stop I was 10th, just behind Jose. Then Bruni and Monfardini collided and they took my front wing off. I stopped, changed the wing, and came back and finished 10th. Starting 21st and finishing 10th is not a bad thing, but it could have been a lot better. We still hope to score a few points tomorrow.'