|Antonio Giovinazzi won the GP2 Feature Race at Monza
There were four exciting, action-packed races across GP2 and GP3 at the iconic Monza circuit close to Pirelli’s Milan home. Antonio Giovinazzi thrilled the Italian fans with a spectacular GP2 Feature Race victory, a mix of strategy and speed helping him win from the back row of the grid. Norman Nato triumphed in the Sprint Race, while Jake Dennis and Nyck de Vries demonstrated the depth of talent in GP3 as they became the eighth and ninth different winners this season.
The P Zero White medium and P Zero Yellow soft were the two compounds nominated for GP2 at Monza. All of the top 10 starters opted to begin the race on the soft, while some of those further back pinned their hopes on a medium-soft strategy. Pierre Gasly led the early stages from pole position on the soft compound tyre and was able to stay out on track until lap 12 before he pitted to fit the mediums, later than his nearest rivals.
A collision on lap 16 of 30 between Sergio Canamasas and Arthur Pic triggered a safety car, which played into the hands of those that started on the medium tyre by picking up Gasly instead of the actual leaders. This allowed Raffaele Marciello, Gustav Malja and Antonio Giovinazzi to pit for the soft tyre and remain at the front of the order.
The safety car stayed on track for several laps while the damaged cars were cleared and rest of the pack was then released to join up with the leaders. The front trio were able to preserve the life in their soft tyres for seven laps of green flag racing at the end. Giovinazzi, who had been excluded from second place in qualifying because of a tyre pressure infringement, used this to the maximum to charge past Malja and Marciello in the final two laps and take victory.
Norman Nato used a great start from fourth on the grid to lead the Sprint Race from the first corner, maintaining the medium tyre well to stay clear of the charging Prema pairing of Gasly and Giovinazzi, who are separated by just 10 points at the top of the standings.
|Jake Dennis makes a winning pass in GP3 at Monza
With the P Zero soft compound selected for use in GP3 at Monza, tyre management was an important factor in the opening race, lasting for 22 laps and nearly 40 minutes. Arden drivers Jake Dennis and Jack Aitken excelled in this regard to claim a one-two finish. They were joined on an all-British podium by Jake Hughes, who carved his way through the order from eighth on the grid whilst maintaining his tyres. After another pole position, Ferrari Driver Academy racer Charles Leclerc slipped back to fourth at the head of a four-car ART Grand Prix train, enough for the French outfit to wrap up its sixth teams’ title in the seven seasons since GP3 began in 2010.
ART’s McLaren junior driver Nyck de Vries joined Dennis as a first-time winner with his race two victory after passing team-mate Alex Albon. Antonio Fuoco finished third after starting on reverse-grid pole. Leclerc was forced to retire after a collision but remains in the championship lead, 24 points ahead of fellow Ferrari protege Fuoco.
Pirelli’s racing manager Mario Isola said: “Monza usually delivers exciting races and this year’s GP2 and GP3 races were no different. Tyre management certainly played a part in this. The extended safety car period in the GP2 Feature Race reduced the effect of degradation, but strategy played a large part and thanks to a little luck from the way that the safety car played out, drivers that chose an alternative strategy were rewarded. We also saw that tyre management played a part in the shorter Sprint Race, creating great battles for the whole distance. This was the case in the GP3 races too, with plenty of overtaking and drivers that looked after their tyres able to make great progress through the order.”
GP2 and GP3 will travel to Malaysia for the penultimate rounds of the season on September 30-October 2.
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