RDD Drivers out of points in Monza finale
Jose Maria Lopez and Lucas di Grassi both endured a frustrating end to the 2006 GP2 season in the Monza sprint race, as neither of the Renault Driver Development squad members made the points.
Jose damaged the nose of his Super Nova car in a collision at the first corner, and had to pit for a replacement. The car didn't feel quite right after that, and on the 18th lap he went off at the Parabolica and struck the tyre wall, fortunately without injury.
Lucas made a good start in the Durango entry and was soon up to seventh, but the stewards decided that the Brazilian had got away a little bit too well and he was given a drive through penalty. After that he focussed on trying to get the bonus point for fastest lap, and only just lost out to champion Lewis Hamilton. He eventually finished 14th.
Jose finishes the championship in 10th place, and Lucas in 17th, which is not where they planned to be. For both men it's been a tough season, and luck has rarely been on their side. They're now looking ahead to a fresh start in 2007.
Jose Maria Lopez: 'I did just one warm-up lap before the grid, when some people did three, and I was struggling quite a lot to get heat into my tyres. I did a good start and then I probably braked a little bit late. I locked massively so I had to lift and brake again, but I was already on the limit, and I hit Villa. I changed the nose and carried on, but it wasn't great. I arrived in Parabolica and I had a massive lock in the front inside wheel. We have to look and see if it was my mistake or something happened in the earlier crash, but it was quite strange. It went straight and I couldn't brake. It's not been a great season for me, and my aim was to finish in the top three, and we were really far from that. I don't know about the future yet. For sure Renault has been important for my career. I've been with them for four years and I won a championship with them in the World Series, and I've had the opportunity to test a World Championship-winning F1 car, which is not a thing that everybody can do. I'm very happy with what they've done for me.'
Lucas di Grassi: 'It was my mistake with the clutch. The lights were on for too long, and I misjudged things and moved a little bit before the start, so I got the drive through. I was eighth by the time I had to do it, and the pace was not very good, so it wouldn't have changed a lot. After the drive through I went for the quickest lap, and I did the second quickest lap of the race by four-hundredths from Hamilton. I was really on the limit trying to get a point, and it's a shame that I couldn't. I've learned a lot this year, not only about racing, but also other things. In the beginning of the year we were struggling a lot, but I improved a lot, and by the end of the season I was one of the top five quickest almost every time. Whatever I do in racing I hope next year I have a stronger team and can really show what I can do. I hope to stay with Renault. They gave me very good support this year, even if I didn't have the best results.'