ART Grand Prix had a disappointing Italian Grand Prix that saw a seventh place for Sebastien Buemi in race one and a fourth for Lucas di Grassi in race two being the only points secured from the weekend leaving the team in second place on the ...
ART Grand Prix had a disappointing Italian Grand Prix that saw a seventh place for Sebastien Buemi in race one and a fourth for Lucas di Grassi in race two being the only points secured from the weekend leaving the team in second place on the championship ladder on 77 points, 31 behind leaders at iSport and Lucas di Grassi trailing championship leader, Timo Glock by eleven points as the season draws to a close. Di Grassi was en route for a podium finish in the first event, however a gearbox robbed him of the chance while Buemi was in a solid position in race two until a rookie error from Pantano sent him back down the field.
After starting Saturdays opening race from second on the grid while championship rival Timo Glock was down in eight, Lucas had hoped to regain the championship lead, however his hopes were dashed after his car developed gearbox issues two laps from the end and left him languishing down in fourteenth place and out of the points and eight points shy of the championship lead. This meant that race two was going to be a difficult challenge from the start, but a penalty for a fellow driver moved him into 13th from where he stormed through the field in be a very closely fought race, despite suffering from some electrical issue. He eventually finished fourth overall to keep his title hopes alive going into the next round in Belgium this weekend.
Meanwhile, teammate Sebastien Buemi, who started race one down in eleventh place overall scored points in race one with a seventh placed finish. This meant he started second in race two but his challenge was cut short by Giorgio Pantano who ran into the back of Sebastien on lap 17, leaving him classified down in fourteenth place. Frederic Vasseur: Too bad! I think we were taking the precedence of Glock in terms of performance. We were on the verge of showing that our return to form is quite solid, until the last lap of race one when a gearbox problem put a halt to Lucas' great race and ruined his whole weekend, whereas he was handling the race in a perfect way and should have left Monza as the championship leader. As for Sebastien, his race pace was very good and he was focused, but two drivers destroyed his good performances in both races. After several years spent in F3000, GP2 and F1 it is quite surprising that Pantano still makes beginners mistakes! Our two drivers were competitive, it's not over, there can still be a change of fortune.
Lucas Di Grassi: Race 1: 14th Race 2: 4th Championship: 2nd , 67 points
With two laps less I would have taken the lead of the championship again and would have been better placed to defend my position in race two. But that's racing... With three laps to go for the end of the first race, each time I went down the gears I found myself in neutral. I had to stop to be able to select a gear and then restart. It is frustrating because the 2nd step of the podium was in sight.
The following day I had a good start and avoided any incidents at the beginning of race. I had a good rhythm and I went quickly up the classification. Then I had a new problem with some electronic failures. I preferred not to take too many risks and push things with the gearbox, so I finished the race with some important points for the championship. I must thank the team who worked until 3 in the morning to fix the gearbox problems from Saturday.
Sebastien Buemi: Race 1: 7th Race 2: 12th Championship: 20th, 6 points
It was better but the final result is quite frustrating. I clocked some very fast sectors in qualifying but I was unable to put them together. It could have been much better. I made a good start in race one and overtook Senna. All was going well until I tried to get passed Hirate. I did not expect him to fight as hard as he did, it was useless and stupid as he was one lap down. He hit me hard which twisted my steering. Then we lost 10 more seconds during my pit stop when we lost a wheel nut.
I resumed the race in P18 and climbed up to P7, which was very satisfying as I scored points and was assured of a good position in race 2. I had some wheel spin at the start of Sunday's race but was still P3 at the end of the first lap. Then I had an interesting battle with Glock, who eventually overtook me by cutting the chicane! I let Lucas go through but did not see Pantano's suicidal attack coming and it ruined my race. Well, all in all the weekend was quite positive. I hope I showed some good performances but I want to do more and better and results must come. I hope everything will go smoothly at Spa and that lady bad luck will leave me alone.