Davide Valsecchi back on top in Monza sprint
Davide Valsecchi kept his countrymen smiling by claiming the second Italian win of the weekend with a commanding drive in this morning’s sprint race in Monza, controlling the pace and his rivals to ease home ahead of Fabio Leimer and Jolyon Palmer.
The Italian’s win was set up at the start when he split front row starters Stefano Coletti and Palmer with a storming start as the lights went out. Leimer followed Valsecchi after running inside Coletti at turn one and easing into P2, while behind them Esteban Gutiérrez came together with Johnny Cecotto, and Marcus Ericsson missed his braking all together and had to run straight at the chicane.
The Swede eventually dropped back to just behind his teammate, who made short work of Coletti to put himself into a podium position the next time through the first turn. Behind them though, Fabio Onidi came in way too hot and collected Nigel Melker, with both drivers out on the spot, and Esteban Gutiérrez ran too deep trying to pass Giedo van der Garde into the Parabolica and found the wall.
Leimer was throwing everything he had at Valsecchi, who was equally determined to repel the attacks and get his championship bid back on track, and the pair pulled away from Palmer, who had his mirrors full of the Coletti/Ericsson battle behind him. The Swede eventually eased past, making it a 3 way fight for the final podium position.
And when the flag finally dropped it was Valsecchi who held on by just 0.4 seconds from Leimer, with the pair saluting each other after crossing the line. Palmer held on for third after Coletti and Ericsson ran side by side through Ascari on the final lap: Coletti hung on for fourth while Ericsson ran wide and lost places to Johnny Cecotto and Max Chilton in the run to the flag, and Julian Leal repelled a long challenge from Sergio Canamasas for the final point.
Valsecchi’s win eases the Italian ahead in the driver’s championship: he now leads on 229 points to Luiz Razia’s 204, while James Calado and Esteban Gutiérrez remain unchanged on 160 and 152 points respectively. DAMS take the lead in the team’s championship with 314 points to 312 for Lotus, with Arden third on 208 points as everyone look towards the final round of the 2012 season in Singapore in just 2 weeks time.