GP2

Piquet hits first in Monza, grabs pole

Nelson A. Piquet claimed pole position for Monza's race one in the GP2 Series final round and added two points into his total in the fight for the championship with Lewis Hamilton. The Britm who leads the standings was third today, behind local ...

Nelson A. Piquet claimed pole position for Monza's race one in the GP2 Series final round and added two points into his total in the fight for the championship with Lewis Hamilton. The Britm who leads the standings was third today, behind local racer Giorgio Pantano.

"The car was great again, and I was lucky not to get involved in traffic or anything. I really don't know what to say. I'm just really happy," said the Piquet Sport racer.

The Brazilian set 1:30.161 in his best shot on board the Dallara-Renault, a lap time that wasn't bested by anyone in the field and landed him his sixth pole of the season.

With this result, Piquet -- who was recently confirmed as one of Renault F1 test drivers for 2007 -- reduced from ten to eight his gap on the standings with Hamilton as both drivers expect to have a great show in tomorrow's race one of the final weekend of the season for GP2.

"Everything needs to go well in the race and I need not to get involved in any stupid mistakes. I'm sure we can finish at the top," Piquet remarked about tomorrow's first race of the weekend.

Pantano placed his FMS International 0.229-seconds off the fast pace set by Piquet. The Italian looks forward to the weekend without the pressure felt by Piquet and Hamilton. Pantano proved that today by knocking Hamilton off the front row in a surprise quick lap near the end of qualifying.

"I think we've seen in the last four or five races that we've been really there not far away from Nelson or Hamilton," the Italian said. "I know the circuit quite well and the car worked very good. The championship is not my problem. I want to win the race. I have nothing to lose, so I'm going to do my race."

The Brit who still leads the standings as they enter the final round was matching Piquet in the early run before the Brazilean laid down his best time, Hamilton pitted for new tires on his ART Grand Prix and started to chip away at the pole time. A final yellow took the wind out of him and he settled for third.

"There was a yellow flag in the last corner, but it was right by the incident. I was already straight, and I didn't even think it was a fast lap. I remain positive. Even if they take my best laps I'll still be third. Tomorrow I won't try any silly moves. It'll be close, but I want to win," he commented.

Racing Engineering's Adam Carroll took fourth and will start next to Hamilton on the grid. "Qualifying was pretty good: P4, so it's not bad really. The car was good, I pushed hard and it held in there, so near the front is not a bad place to start," he said.

DAMS driver Frank Perera slotted fifth followed by Hamilton's teammate Alexandre Premat. Luca Filippi placed his BCN car seventh on the grid with iSport's Ernesto Viso in eighth, just a tad over one second off the pole time.

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