Bottas seals GP3 title with victory
10 September 2011 – Valtteri Bottas secured the GP3 title with an impressive victory at Monza on Saturday afternoon, fending off chief championship rival and Lotus ART team-mate James Calado in the final stages of the race. The Finn ultimately finished 0.378 seconds ahead of the Briton, while Rio Haryanto completed the podium for Manor Motorsport.
Pole-sitter Adrian Quaife-Hobbs pulled away wellfrom the front of the grid as the race began, maintaining his advantage over Nico Müller into the first corner. However, fifth palce starter Bottas quickly made his intentions clear, jumping up to third as the lights went out, settling into a rhythm behind the front two men.
A brief blip for Bottas saw Haryanto move up to third with Calado in turn launching onto the gearbox of his team-mate, a fight that would intensify in the closing stages. A few laps later Müller was able to make his way into the lead with a fine move on Quaife-Hobbs, while Bottas made it all the more painful for Manor Racing by reclaiming third.
Bottas went on to overtake both Quaife-Hobbs and Müller in quick succession, moving to the top of the order with just over half of the race remaining. However, a race-ending crash for Quaife-Hobbs would lead to the Safety Car being deployed, a final twist that looked set to hand Calado an opportunity to pounce for the win.
As the race got back underway it was Bottas who narrowly led Calado, having to defend aggressively on the final lap to claim his GP3 crown. After running wide early in the lap, Calado had to accept defeat and came home in the runner-up spot. Behind Haryanto, Switzerland's Müller settled for fourth after a challenging final phase of the race.
Sunday's Race 2 begins at 8.55am local time (BST +1)