Vietoris victorious, Maldonado champion
12 September 2010
Christian Vietoris' stunning flying start was the talk of the GP2 Monza sprint race, as he managed to fly from fifth place, slalom around the sluggish cars on the two rows in front of him, and somehow emerge in the lead going into the first turn. It was so good that you knew, without question, that it must be a jump start: only, it wasn't. Vietoris had the lead fair and square, and would hold it right through to the chequered flag to claim his maiden GP2 victory, the second first-time winner of the weekend.
Of the rest, Jerome D'Ambrosio managed to pick up the pieces and emerge in second place while further back Saturday's feature race winner Sam Bird was also having a good start, climbing to fourth place in the course of the first lap and picking up third place three laps later with a nice move on pole sitter Max Chilton down the inside into the first chicane. Bird quickly closed down the gap to D'Ambrosio, but he would be unable to do anything about overtaking him despite some particularly strong moves in the final lap of the race. Both of them stuck close to the back of Vietoris and kept the young German under pressure for the entire 21 lap race length, but none of them had that vital edge to make a decisive move on the others.
Jules Bianchi finished behind his ART team mate in fourth, having pulled off a similar move to Bird's on Max Chilton. However, Chilton had rallied in the later laps and managed to hold off attacks from Oliver Turvey to claim fifth place, Turvey having to settle for the single point of sixth place.
After the crashfest the previous day, the sprint race proved an altogether more well-mannered affair. Even so, Pastor Maldonado didn't make it to the end of the first lap: he was caught out when he entered the Parabolica only to find the cars in front slowing up, and his attempt to brake and avoid running into them caused the car to get loose and run into the gravel, ending up with the Rapax car embedded in the tyre wall. Despite this second DNF of the weekend, however, Pastor's spirits were raised when the initial cause of the cars ahead slowing up was revealed: series rival Sergio Perez had gone off into the gravel himself, and while he has been able to crawl back to the tarmac and resume it was most definitely the end of any chance of his scoring any points. Without any points, Perez' title bid was at and end: Maldonado was, finally and unequivocally, the 2010 GP2 champion.
Fabio Leimer failed to make the start of the race, a huge amount of quick-dry cement dumped on his grid spot testament to a catastrophic hydraulics failure. Rodolfo Gonzalez - who had failed to make the start on Saturday - this time made it to the fifth lap before running into the rear right suspension of Giedo van der Garde's Barwa Addax on the approach to the second chicane, which ultimately saw them both retire from collision damage.
There were also retirements for Edoardo Piscopo - who lost his rear wing to the overly solicitous attentions of Davide Valsecchi into the first chicane (Valsecchi had to pit for a new wing and ended up at the back of the field) - and for Romain Grosjean just three laps before the end, after Adrian Zaugg managed to slip past the DAMS car into the same corner at the climax of a race-long duel between the two drivers, only to then deliver a hit on the right front wheel that snapped Grosjean's steering rack - damage not dissimilar to that sustained by Lewis Hamilton later on in the F1 Grand Prix.
Sergio Perez finished his pointless weekend back in 13th, the high-point of his day being a nice move on Luca Filippi and Fabrizio Crestani through the first chicane on the penultimate lap. Luca Filippi had been trying to overtake Crestini but been thwarted, and instead pulled off a daring move on the DPR car down the start/finish straight at the start of the final lap that took him onto the grass verge to force his way through - hard-as-nails racing even then when the spoils are a mere 14th place.