28/05/2012

Monaco

GP3’s debut at the famous twisty Monaco street circuit was a huge success for the Lotus GP team with two podium finishes from two races, including a win in race one, courtesy of Aaro Vainio. This means they have had a car on the podium in every race so far this season. 

 
After taking his maiden pole position in the series, a session that was cut into two groups just like GP2, with a stunning lap that was almost a second faster than second placed ma Aaro went one step better by winning taking his debut GP3 career win at the prestigious event, a perfect start to the history making weekend. He finished it off with a seventh placed finish in the shortened action packed race two to leave the Principality at the top of the championship with 54 points.
 
Meanwhile, the reason race two was cut short was due to the fence being damaged too much after Aaro’s teammate, Conor Daly, had the biggest crash of his motor racing career. Earlier in the race Conor touched the rear of another car and while he continued on after that, he then hit the rear of his opponent’s car, who no longer had a rear wing and was extremely slow. Despite this, he moved across the track several times defend his position and Conor had nowhere to go and hit him exiting the tunnel. This added to his woes from race one, where, starting from row four on the grid he was deemed to have made a jump start, invoking a drive through penalty. But despite his early getaway he didn’t get far as his Lotus actually stalled on the grid, the penalty adding insult to injury and he finished last, despite showing great race pace.
The third member of the team, Daniel Abt, didn’t have a very good qualifying session, and also started race one from the fourth of the grid. He had a brilliant drive to finish sixth after winning a superb fight with Antonio Felix Da Costa who was trying everything in his power to outmanoeuvre him. This meant he started third on the grid in race two, the perfect position to secure the teams second podium finish of the weekend and the first of his GP3 career.
Aaro Vaino sits first in the championship on 54 points with Conor Daly fifth on 23 and Daniel Abt seventh on 22. The team sits in first int eh teams championship with 99 points, 16 ahead of second place. 
 
Daniel Abt: My qualifying was definitely not a source of satisfaction and I have to work on this part of the weekend. I had a good start in race 1, but after that not much happened as it is really hard to overtake here. Once in 6th position I made sure I kept it and defended from da Costa’s attack because I knew it would give me the opportunity to start from the top 3 on Saturday for the reverse grid race. The second race didn’t last long but anyway, it was all about the start and I think mine was good. Unfortunately the guys ahead of me did a good job too and I kept third. I am really happy to get my first podium in GP3, especially in Monaco which is my favourite track. In all honesty, I don’t think we had the start to the season we were expecting but the team is great, I feel confident and we must build on this podium to be sure to finish higher in the next races.
 
Conor Daly: It was definitely the biggest crash I have ever had. I feel bad for the team because the car they gave me was just mega and I was having a lot of fun, overtaking on this track is such a challenge, and of course the track itself is already an incredible challenge. But I can’t help it when people do stupid moves and Monaco did not land the results we should have got, partly because of me when I jump started the first race and suffered a drive through penalty. How ironic, after a slight move on the grid I could not getaway and lost a lot of positions already. Anyway, this is past, time to move on and to focus on the next round
 
Aaro Vainio: To achieve pole and to win in Monaco is so amazing. I was very comfortable in practice and qualifying was sensational thanks to the car Lotus prepared. Sometimes you put everything together and that was the case in qualifying then in the race. I had a great start and managed to open a gap in the first few laps and then I was controlling the race. It is my first ever win in singleseater and it feels great. I wanted to leave Monaco heading the points and that’s what we achieved. But the season is long, I can’t wait for the next challenge on another street track, bring Valencia on!
 
Frédéric Vasseur: On one hand there is the great satisfaction of securing a second win and to put a car on the podium at each race so far, Aaro was outstanding all weekend long, Daniel and Conor were on par but did not get the best out of the qualifying session. On the other hand, there was this scary crash that should have never happened. Conor was so much faster than Suranovich who was slowing the pack 7 seconds per lap. But he just would not get out of the way, moved two or three times under the tunnel and Conor had nowhere to go. This is a lucky escape in the end because Conor is safe but I hope this is a lesson everyone will learn, teams, drivers and race direction, to make the championship better.