Gutierrez wins GP3 race 1 in Monza Today in Monza, Esteban Gutierrez proved some more why he is a worthy GP3 Series champion by battling throughout the thirty minute race to reclaim the lead he lost at the start and score what will be remembered as his hardest-earned win of the season. The ART Grand Prix driver was clean away from pole when the lights went out but he couldn’t hold back a flying Robert Wickens in Turn 2 who moved up from fifth to second soon passing Gutierrez for the lead. Nico Müller was next to pass the newly crowned champion rapidly followed by Atech CRS GP’s Roberto Merhi.
With Gutierrez down to fourth spot, a race long battle for the lead begun. Manor Racing’s Rio Haryanto and RSC Mucke Motorsport’s Renger van der Zande, who had a slow start from the front row, completed the top six, and soon the leading pack were pulling away from the rest of the field.
The remainder of the race saw the top six cars relentlessly swapping position through bold maneuvers. Müller was the next man to start putting the moves on Wickens and the two started a wheel to wheel battle for the lead. Behind them, Haryanto passed Gutierrez to take third and was quickly pushing the leading pair – ending up with a three car wide battle that the Indonesian eventually won with Wickens dropping to third.
As the end of the race approached, the leading six became five with van der Zande slowing on track and eventually retiring on mechanical gremlins. This did not stop the others to keep fighting for the second-to-last win of the season. Wickens regained the lead after Muller went a bit too wide in the second chicane and then passing Haryanto. Having already got through Müller, it was during the final three laps that GP3 Series champion Gutierrez showed his worth. The Mexican kept his cool and rapidly picked off the leading cars starting with Haryanto. The Indonesian fell into the clutches of Muller and Merhi leaving Gutierrez clear to chase down and pass Wickens.
The chequered flag dropped and Gutierrez took his fifth win of the season, pumping his fists in the air and increasing his lead in the Series to 23 points. Wickens held on to second further solidifying his second place in the standings. Haryanto took third ahead of Müller, while Mirko Bortolotti finished fifth at his home track. Merhi was next over the line followed by Carlin’s Josef Newgarden who had a great finish to his race, catching up with the leading pack. Nigel Melker passed teammate Tobias Hegewald to take the final point and pole position for tomorrow’s race.
The action continues tomorrow with Race 2 at 09:25 local time.
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