Neel Jani took the victory in the GP2 series sprint race today at Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, edging Nico Rosberg by four tenths of a second in yet another thrilling finish. The Swiss driver started the competition from second place algonside...
Neel Jani took the victory in the GP2 series sprint race today at Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, edging Nico Rosberg by four tenths of a second in yet another thrilling finish.
The Swiss driver started the competition from second place algonside Ferdinando Monfardini due to his seventh place on yesterday's race. Jani quickly showed himself to be faster than the Italian and jumped to the lead in the start itself, a position he wouldn't leave until the chequered flag.
"I made a good start -- the start was the clue for the win. I overtook Monfardini by doing a little trick on him -- I got in the slipstream, pulled right and he went right, then I went immediately left, so he was right and I was already next to him, so he couldn't do anything", mentioned the winner after the podium.
This was second victory in the series for the Racing Engineering driver, following the one took in Hungaroring, on Saturday race at that time.
Jani suffered with brakes that troubled him from the beginning of the race, but he managed to stay in front. "I was struggling with the brakes and I just couldn't brake late -- I was braking at 150 metres or even before, when normally you brake at 100 metres. Still I locked up, and I just couldn't get the car down, so I just tried to make no mistakes", he said.
When there were three laps remaining, the gap to Rosberg was three second. But the pace of the German made Jani work a little more to take the win.
"On the last lap I wasn't so confident! He was so close I could smell him, and I had to be so careful not to make a mistake under braking, because if I missed the apex I would mess up for the next straight, and I wanted to not let him get into my slipstream. So I could do it, and it was enough, but I was really happy that the race was finished!", Jani commented.
Jani is now back on fifth place in the standings with 48 points. "It's another win for me, it's six more points for the championship and I I'm back to fifth, so I'm happy". He sure is.
Rosberg could finally repeated yesterday's result to take second place after he started from seventh the competition, and what is more important, could cut five points to Kovalainen who crossed the line in fifth.
"It was a great race for me. To come second is great, and I thought I could even fight for the victory on the final lap, but it just didn't work out", Nico said.
Rosberg had a race from less to more. The ART Grand Prix driver could recover from fourth row and with a smooth drive he was able to reach second place when it rest three laps to the end.
"The safety car worked out well for me, and then to be honest I don't even remember what happened after that, and if I got some places or whatever I don't remember. Anyway, I came up nicely through the field, and had some nice overtaking maneuvers and whatever, so I'm really happy", he explained.
When Rosberg took second, it was the moment to pressure Jani for the lead. The German cut the gap to a head to head finish in the last lap that saw both cars split by just 0.488s in the chequered flag. "I would reach the win with another lap, definitely. Jani was not very quick at that stage, and I definitely could have taken him", Nico stated. To bad for him, the race had to finish.
Although the five points he took over Kovalainen means a lot for Rosberg in his chase for the title. The Finn leads 99 to 95 and Rosberg is confident for the next two final races in Spa and Bahrain, where he believes Heikki will be more complicated that he was this weekend in Monza.
"They are normal tracks (Spa and Bahrain), and this is a special track where you run a completely different set up from scratch. He managed to get a good car, and he drove very well too, but things are going to get back to normal I think in the next two races, like in Istanbul where he was 1.5 seconds a lap off". Rosberg wants to hit even more the fight for the championship in the final straight of GP2 first season. The best should be about to come.
With a theoretical maximum of 22 points available per race weekend, all other drivers bar Scott Speed (59 points) are now mathematically eliminated from the title fight, though: it'll be Kovalainen and Rosberg to the end.