SECOND PODIUM OF SEASON FOR BRATT AT MONZA Banbury's Will Bratt raced to his second podium of the season during round six of the FIA Formula 2 Championship at a scorching hot Monza this afternoon, Sunday, 23rd May, to continue his hugely ...
SECOND PODIUM OF SEASON FOR BRATT AT MONZA
Banbury's Will Bratt raced to his second podium of the season during round six of the FIA Formula 2 Championship at a scorching hot Monza this afternoon, Sunday, 23rd May, to continue his hugely successful association with the legendary Italian track -- even though hampered by clutch problems.
The 3.6-mile circuit, scene of Will's Party Poker Racing Euroseries 3000 and Italian Formula 3000 title victories last year, once again proved to be a happy hunting ground for the 22-year-old during the second of this weekend's races as he battled incredibly hard to claim a fine third place finish.
Beginning the race third on the grid after a highly competitive performance during qualifying on Saturday evening -- where he missed out on a maiden F2 pole position by just 0.3 seconds -- Will made a good, clean getaway to pass Sergei Afanasiev on the run to the first chicane.
Running close behind race leader, and pole-sitter, Jolyon Palmer early on and looking all set to mount a challenge, on lap three Will's car started to suffer from a slipping clutch which began to compromise his lap times. Not only that, it prevented him from being able to use the 'overboost' facility which meant he missed out on eight opportunities to use an additional 55bhp.
With that in mind, the first-year F2 racer did a tremendous job to maintain second place and to run lap times just a few 10ths of a second outside Palmer's pace. Gradually slipping back from the leader over the course of the 18-lapper, Will fully expected to be forced to retire with the worsening issue.
Five laps from the finish third placed Afanasiev closed in and although defending extremely well from the Russian, Will was realistically a sitting duck and could do little to prevent his rival from going through on the inside at the Curva Grande on the penultimate lap.
Happy to have taken his second podium finish of 2010, Will was rightly disappointed to have missed out on being able to challenge for his first Formula 2 race win as he nursed his car to the finish. The points for third place though mean the talented Briton remains fourth in the championship.
"It's great to be back on the podium but I'm really disappointed to have missed out on fighting for the win", said Will, "I definitely had the pace over (Jolyon) Palmer for the first couple of laps until the clutch problem surfaced on lap three at Ascari when I was right on his tail. He was able to pull away then as the clutch problem got worse and it also meant I couldn't use the boost.
"I really thought I wouldn't finish the race as things got worse so although I am disappointed to have slipped to third near the end behind (Sergei) Afanasiev, it's a bit of a result to be on the podium at all and to finish only four seconds behind Palmer. We're at another track I know next, Zolder, so I'm looking forward to that."
Belgian track Zolder will host rounds seven and eight of the 2010 FIA Formula 2 Championship four weeks from now over the weekend 19th/20th June.
-source: will bratt