SMITH ENDS INAUGURAL GP3 SEASON AS TOP BRIT McLaren Autosport BRDC Award winner Dean Smith concluded the inaugural season of GP3 Series action seventh overall in the driver standings at Monza in Italy on Sunday, 12th September, making him the ...
SMITH ENDS INAUGURAL GP3 SEASON AS TOP BRIT
McLaren Autosport BRDC Award winner Dean Smith concluded the inaugural season of GP3 Series action seventh overall in the driver standings at Monza in Italy on Sunday, 12th September, making him the highest placed British racer in the FIA Formula One World Championship support category.
Although the weekend proved to be a difficult one for the Racing Steps Foundation-backed driver due to problems throughout with the balance of his Renault-powered Dallara, he underlined his racecraft with an impressive drive through to 16th place from the last row of the grid in the final race.
Forced to begin round 16 from 29th position after retiring from Saturday's 15th round due to damaged suspension, sustained in a start-line incident, the 22-year-old Wolverhampton racer made a good start to Sunday's encounter and carved his way through into the top 18 by mid-distance.
Gaining another couple of positions before the finish on lap 15, Dean ended the season with a strong drive to gain 13 places on his starting slot. Although unable to take any points away from Monza to add to his final championship total, the BRDC Superstar still ends the 2010 campaign in seventh spot.
"It's been shockingly bad all weekend, other than testing on Friday we were really slow and couldn't get the car to handle well", said Dean, "It's been a disappointing end to the season but in terms of my final championship position, it's not all that bad considering the problems we've had I suppose."
Dean did make a strong start to the Monza weekend, lapping consistently competitively during testing on Friday to finish the run with a best lap of 1m44.695 seconds to place an impressive fifth on the timesheets -- just three 10ths of a second shy of the outright pace.
Unfortunately though, the problems with the balance of his car through qualifying, along with laps affected by two yellow flag periods, meant he was only able to post an uncharacteristic 26th quickest time to leave a literal mountain to climb in the first of the weekend's races.
His planned progress in round 15 was then halted immediately when his car stalled on the line and the right-rear corner was clipped by Alexander Rossi. The resulting damage led to bent suspension for Dean and although he limped back to the pits, he was unable to continue.
"We've definitely had more than our fair share of issues and bad luck this year", he added, "It's not been the season we wanted, especially after such a strong 2009 winning Formula Renault UK and the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award, but we just need to focus now on 2011. It's been good to race in GP3 this year though -- thanks as always to the Racing Steps Foundation and Tomax."
Final provisional 2010 GP3 Series driver standings: 7th Dean Smith, 24pts