Luca Filippi brought delight to the hearts of his countrymen with a lights to flag victory in this afternoon's feature race at his home circuit of Monza: the Italian blew past poleman Charles Pic to lead home the Frenchman and his compatriot Romain Grosjean by over five seconds.
Filippi made good on his pre-race promises and tore away from the line when the lights went out: Pic couldn't take advantage of the clean side of the track and had to fend off Alvaro Parente, Grosjean, Adam Carroll and Fabio Leimer as they made their way to the first chicane.
The Italian was setting the pace with a string of fastest laps, knowing the best way to secure victory in Monza is to build as big a lead as soon as possible, while Pic was constantly watching his mirrors as a train of rivals built up behind him. Pic, Grosjean, Carroll, Leimer and a fast recovering Sam Bird pitted together on lap 12, with the English driver gaining 2 places in the pits and another when Parente was given a drive through for an unsafe release.
Filippi covered their stops two laps later, easily coming in and out in ahead of his rivals: the Italian was soon looking for the fastest lap to add to his collection and help in his hunt of the vice-champion title, and finally claimed it with five laps remaining despite the best efforts of Grosjean behind him.
And when the flag dropped the grandstand erupted with joy to celebrate their countryman's first home win in the series, with Pic doing enough to hold off Grosjean for second place by 0.6 seconds. Bird made the most of his race by finishing a fine fourth place from P9, with Carroll crossing the line ahead of Christian Vietoris and Fabio Leimer, while Jules Bianchi kept his own vice-championship hopes alive with a strong drive to 8th and tomorrow's pole position.
With Grosjean already champion, the fight for the runner up is now between Pic on 52 points, Filippi on 51, with Bianchi and Giedo van der Garde two points back on 49, while Addax is all but team champion on 101 points from Dams' 89. Tomorrow's final sprint race of the season should be a cracker.
Monza– Feature race Driver Team 1. Luca Filippi Scuderia Coloni 2. Charles Pic Barwa Addax Team 3. Romain Grosjean Dams 4. Sam Bird iSport International 5. Adam Carroll Super Nova Racing 6. Christian Vietoris Racing Engineering 7. Fabio Leimer Rapax 8. Jules Bianchi Lotus ART 9. Esteban Gutierrez Lotus ART 10. Luiz Razia Caterham Team AirAsia 11. Pal Varhaug Dams 12. Alvaro Parente Carlin 13. Dani Clos Racing Engineering 14. Marcus Ericsson iSport International 15. Stéphane Richelmi Trident Racing 16. Julian Leal Rapax 17. Johnny Cecotto Ocean Racing Technology 18. Fairuz Fauzy Super Nova Racing 19. Rodolfo Gonzalez Trident Racing 20. Davide Valsecchi Caterham Team AirAsia 21. Giedo van der Garde Barwa Addax Team 22. Brendon Hartley Ocean Racing Technology
Not Classified Max Chilton Carlin Josef Kral Arden International Jolyon Palmer Arden International Michael Herck Scuderia Coloni
Fastest Lap : Luca Filippi (Scuderia Coloni) – 1:33.367 on lap 27
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