Stanaway shows if you are F1 material you can win in your GP3 debut
Pole sitter Richie Stanaway drove a brilliant race today to win on his GP3 Series debut weekend. The New Zealander finished 4.007 seconds ahead of his teammate James Calado to lead the second Lotus ART 1-2 of the weekend. The result ensured that Lotus ART sealed the teams’ title for the second season in a row with one round remaining.
When the lights went out Stanaway briefly lost the lead to Jenzer Motorsport’s Nico Müller, but the young driver kept a cool head and fought back to regain his place at the front and from then on the race was sewn up. Stanaway built up a commanding lead, which was as much as 6.1 seconds midway through the race, to take the victory. Series contender Alexander Sims had another disappointing morning when a first lap clash ended his race prematurely.
Adrian Quaife-Hobbs made his way up into third by the end of lap 1 and soon passed Müller for second spot, but the podium position was short lived when the Brits’ bad luck returned and an engine problem ended his race. Further back the Lotus ART duo of Calado and Valtteri Bottas were on the move with both drivers up into the points. Calado went on to haul himself up into the top three, but Series leader Bottas was unable to make in six podiums in a row after a clash with Melker saw the Dutchman retire and the Finn drop down the order and out the points for the first time since Germany.
With the checkered flag in sight Calado was fast catching Stanaway but the Brit ran out of laps and had to settle for second and after a battle with the Lotus ART driver Müller took the final podium spot. Birthday boy Michael Christensen held on to fourth despite pressure from Simon Trummer in the closing laps, and Alex Fontana claimed the final point on his GP3 debut weekend.
Bottas leaves Belgium with a slashed lead of just five points in the Series ahead of his teammate James Calado. Lotus ART lead the teams’ standings by 45 points, but the battle for second spot is still raging. MW Arden and RSC Mucke Motorsport both have 31 points in second and third respectively.
With five drivers still in the hunt to become the 2011 GP3 Series champion. Don’t miss the final round in Monza on September 09-10-11.
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