Italian Double for Perez Sergio Perez took another fighting victory from 14th on the grid to take his third win of the season and extend his championship lead. Esteban Guerrieri took his, and his Ultimate Motorsport teams, best British...
Italian Double for Perez
Sergio Perez took another fighting victory from 14th on the grid to take his third win of the season and extend his championship lead. Esteban Guerrieri took his, and his Ultimate Motorsport teams, best British F3 finish in second with Atte Mustonen in third. All three chassis/ engine combinations were represented on the grid underlining the competitive nature of this year's British F3 International Series.
Jay Bridger became the latest winner in the National Class as Andy Meyrick failed to score any points in Italy. Hywel Lloyd finished off a great weekend for himself and his CF Racing team with second place from the back of the grid. Kristjan Einar scored his first podium of the season and gave his Carlin Motorsport team something to cheer about.
As the 28 cars filed out to the Monza grid for the second race of the weekend the rain that had been the overriding feature of the event started to fall on the back of the circuit. The track was dry for most of the lap and the teams sent their drivers out on slicks. As the lights went out Max Chilton got a great start from pole position to lead into the first corner with Matteo Chinosi slotting in behind the 17-year-old Hitech driver.
At the first corner everyone held their breath as the field filed around the chicane but in the middle of the field Sam Abay spun but the rest of the grid missed the spinning Aussie who rejoined further down the field.. The cars sped away down to the next chicane, with Federico Leo becoming the first casualty of the race, his Ombra Racing Dallara stopping at the second Chicane.
The falling rain was starting to make the track extremely slippery, especially as all of the cars were wearing Avon slick rubber. The leaders rounded Lesmo and headed down towards Ascari for the first time. Chilton went through but Alguersuari, who had made up some ground on his grid place, slid off the track at Ascari dropping him back down the order. Then there was chaos in the mid field as a spinning car collected Viktor Jensen and other cars went off in avoidance. The safety car was deployed to enable the marshals to collect the beached cars of Jensen, Philip Major, Salman Al Khalifa, Craig Reiff and Henry Arundel.
The race was restarted at the end of lap 3 and once again Chilton moved ahead of the rest as Chinosi came under pressure from Mustonen and Devaney. Alguersuari had recovered from his earlier spin and was slicing his way to the front, passing Esteban Guerrieri and Sebastian Hohenthal on lap 4 and then moving into second on the next lap by passing Chinosi, Devaney and Mustonen.
As the rain stopped two other drivers were on the move, the first being Sergio Perez and the second was Nick Tandy. The Mexican was 10th at the end of lap 4 and was making rapid progress, gaining five further places by the end of lap 7, with Tandy tracking his every move to end the lap one place behind Perez.
In the National Class Andy Meyrick was being caught by Jay Bridger but then had the International Class runners Sam Abay and John Martin slotting in between them to give Meyrick some breathing space. However on lap 9 Bridger caught and passed the Welshman before his race ended in the barriers at the exit of Ascari. Bridger now had a comfortable lead over the battling duo of Kristjan Einar and Hywel Lloyd.
Back at the front of the field Perez overtook Guerrieri, Mustonen and Alguersuari to move into second place, with the Spaniard dropping back to 6th. On a drying track Perez was now catching Chilton as Guerrieri passed Mustonen for third. Further back Walter Grubmuller had overtaken Brendon Hartley for 11th place but the New Zealander was fighting back as the pair headed into Ascari. Hartley went for a gap but was too far back and the pair touched with both cars coming to a halt at the side of the track.
Lap 10 saw Perez take the lead from Chilton, who was soon demoted to third by Guerrieri and then down to fourth a lap later when Mustonen went ahead of the Englishman. Perez couldn't shake off the second placed Argentine as the race entered the final phase with Chilton now coming under pressure from Tandy, the pair crossing the line for the twelfth time side by side with Tandy taking the place at the first corner.
As the cars crossed the line for the thirteenth time Perez was 0.6 seconds ahead of Guerrieri who had a two second advantage over Mustonen. The fight for seventh place was raging between Sebastian Hohenthal and Oliver Turvey and as they headed into the first corner Turvey went for the inside of the Swede's Dallara. The two cars touched with Hohenthal barrel rolling and coming to rest upside down in the middle of the track bringing out the red flags.
The race was declared on lap 12 with Perez taking his third win of the season ahead of Esteban Guerrieri, who claimed the fastest lap of the race, and Atte Mustonen. Max Chilton was classified fourth because he was ahead of Tandy at the end of lap 12, with the JTR Mygale taking the team's best finish of the year in fifth. Oliver Turvey was giving a 10 second penalty for causing the accident with Hohenthal and the Swede was not classified because his car wasn't moving when the red flags were shown.
Jay Bridger took the National Class win in 12th overall and the fastest lap in the class to close the gap to Andy Meyrick in the championship to just 12 points. Kristjan Einar and Hywel Lloyd were swapping places on every lap with Einar holding second place as the red flags came out but it was Lloyd who had been in front at the end of lap 12 and was awarded the second place ahead of the Icelandic driver.
Sergio Perez now holds a 32 point advantage over Atte Mustonen in the championship table. The next two rounds take place at Rockingham in just eight days on Monday 26 May. Full highlights of the Monza races will be shown on Channel 4 in the UK and on Motors TV across Europe. Full details are on the British F3 website at www.britishf3international.com