Further back, Stéphane Richemi acquitted himself very well in his maiden GP2 outing, having stepped in to the Trident team to substitute for the injured Stefano Coletti. Richemi was one of the very last cars to come in for their mandatory pit stops, and staying out meant that he inherited the race lead for four laps. He dropped back to 17th after his pit stop, but then impressively worked his way past first Julian Leal and then Johnny Cecotto to finish the race in 15th place.
In the drivers championship battle, the fight for second place behind already-crowned champion Grosjean is wide open, with just three points covering Pic (52pts), Filippi (51pts), Bianchi and van der Garde (49pts). However, Sam Bird has now definitely fallen out of contention and will end the season in sixth place in the championship after finishing the Monza feature race in fourth position from tenth on the grid, having got the better of Adam Carroll and Fabio Leimer in the pit stops.
But while Pic goes into the final race in the lead, he's not necessarily in the strongest position to win the runners-up spot. Jules Bianchi now has the key advantage of starting the sprint race on pole position, while Pic and Filippi start from seventh and eighth respectively. If Bianchi wins, then either Pic or Filippi must finish second to deny him the runners-up spot - although the bonus point for fastest lap could also prove critical. In the event of a tie, Filippi has three race wins this season to Pic's two and Bianchi's one.
Meanwhile in the constructors' battle, Pic's second place over Grosjean's third (and neither of their team mates scoring) means that Barwa Addax pull out one point further in the lead over Dams. It's mathematically still possible for Dams to steal a win but it would require Pal Varhaug to score his first points of the year (unlikely but not impossible from an 11th place start on the grid) and for the Addax duo of Pic and van der Garde to fail to score at all.
Either way, it should make for an entertaining battle in the final GP2 race of the 2011 season.
Full race results