STATUS GP DRIVERS GET FIRST TASTE OF FLAT-OUT MONZA MAGIC Status Grand Prix's three drivers took their first laps on the famous flat-out Monza circuit in the first practice session today as they prepare for the final event of the inaugural GP3...
STATUS GP DRIVERS GET FIRST TASTE OF FLAT-OUT MONZA MAGIC
Status Grand Prix's three drivers took their first laps on the famous flat-out Monza circuit in the first practice session today as they prepare for the final event of the inaugural GP3 Series championship this weekend.
The Italian circuit's long straights and sweeping corners, intersected by just three chicanes, provide a unique challenge for GP3 drivers and their 280hp Dallara-Renault cars, and Status GP's drivers tried a variety of low-downforce set-ups before Saturday morning's qualifying session.
Canadian Robert Wickens, who arrives in Monza as the only driver who can stop points leader Esteban Gutierrez winning the GP3 title this weekend, ended the fastest of the Status trio with a lap which left him 12th fastest. It was not the prelude to qualifying he had been looking for, but Wickens is confident that more is to come after debriefing with his engineers on Friday night.
GMH Motorsport-backed driver Daniel Morad was only 0.04sec behind his team-mate, as the Canadian- Lebanese took well to the track on his first visit to Monza. The 20-year-old set his time without the benefit of a tow - in which a car gains speed along the straight by being close behind the car in front. This tactic, although hard to execute, is something Morad and his team-mates are now looking to employ in qualifying tomorrow on the unusually fast circuit, leaving them hopeful of stepping up to top 10 grid positions.
For Marussia Motors development driver Ivan Lukashevich, it was also his first visit to Italy's great speedbowl. As he acclimatised to having wing settings that provide no downforce, the Russian consistently improved through the session to close within 2.0sec of the front-runners.
The Driver's View
Robert Wickens (CAN): Best time: 1m45.22s, +0.897s; Position: 12th.
"It was a slightly disappointing Friday practice session, but we've worked hard on the data tonight and we'll be pulling out all the stops in qualifying tomorrow."
Daniel Morad (LIB): Best time: 1m45.27s, +0.939s; Position: 13th.
"It went well today for my first time at this unique and challenging circuit, and I know we have the potential to put a strong lap together in qualifying. It's difficult to find a tow but we have some tactics at our disposal."
Ivan Lukashevich (RUS): Best time: 1m46.52s, + 2.189s; Position: 28th.
"This is a truly fast circuit, and the car feels totally different to how it does anywhere else with such low downforce settings. But I've enjoyed it and am looking forward to tomorrow."
-source: status gp