Nelson Piquet Jr is convinced that the GP2 Series title fight will go right to the last race of the season at Monza, having sealed his third maximum score in as many races in Saturday's feature in Istanbul.

The Brazilian, who completed the series' first weekend maximum in Hungary three weeks ago, added the race win, fastest lap and pole position to his tally at Istanbul Park and, despite points leader Lewis Hamilton coming through to take the second step of the podium, managed to close the championship gap to just six points with three races still to run.

Piquet made a good start from pole position and, despite having to attack the opening corner from the outside line, set about building up a sizeable lead. Hamilton also made a good start from fifth, and was soon in second place, but the Brazilian had the edge and benefited further when his team made a clever pit-stop call on lap 22, changing all four tyres as a result of the advantage he had built up.

Although the two title contenders had been trading fastest laps through the mid-part of the race, the tactic paid off, as three laps later, the Brazilian set the fastest lap, opening up a further 1.3secs on his rival as Hamilton coincidentally began to conserve his second spot.

"The car was just perfect today and the team did a good strategy and set-up," Piquet reported, "I made a good start and made no mistakes in the race. The car was getting lighter every lap, and just getting quicker and quicker and quicker. But, when we put new tyres on, we were already two seconds quicker!

"I?EUR(TM)m happy, [but] it wasn?EUR(TM)t easy. Lewis, in the beginning, was pushing very hard, but I think I had the advantage because he had a bit of traffic. In the end, I had a fast car, but he was doing good times as well. I couldn?EUR(TM)t do any mistakes, and the pit-stop had to go perfectly for us to continue in front of him. Everything had to go right, and that?EUR(TM)s how it happened."

Despite a major blip at Hockenheim, which had appeared to have handed Hamilton the championship initiative, Piquet has been the form man since the mid-season test at Paul Ricard, and he is confident that he can take the title fight to the end of the season.

"We could have had these kind of results earlier in the season if we hadn't have some of the problems we had," he insisted, "But we?EUR(TM)re slowly, slowly getting closer. Tomorrow is going to be a big race. As I said, we?EUR(TM)ll be fighting for the championship in Monza, probably the last race. It?EUR(TM)s going to be amazing, for both of us and for GP2. It?EUR(TM)ll be an amazing end to the championship.

"It?EUR(TM)s tough for both of us now. Lewis is leading the championship, so he needs to make sure?EUR? Both of us want to win it, but he needs to make sure he stays in front of me in the championship. Maybe my team is a bit better, or the car is a bit better, at the moment, but it goes up and down. At the beginning [of the year], maybe Lewis had a bit of a better car, and now we?EUR(TM)re on a better momentum and he has to keep following me and trying to make as many points as he can, while I have to try to get as close to him as I can. I?EUR(TM)ll just try to win as many races as possible, try to catch him as much as I can, but I think we have a good chance of winning the championship in the last race."

With the reverse grid rules, Piquet will start Sunday's sprint race from eighth on the grid, with Hamilton in seventh, but the Brazilian isn't too concerned, especially given his rise from the same position to win in Hungary.

"I think I have learned a lot and it's about time for me to do perfect races," he said, "Looking to tomorrow, I hope it rains! Seriously, I just will try to do my best and, if we could get another podium, that would be great."

 

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