Filippi wins comeback race as Razia retires
|2.||J. Cecotto Jr.||+4.028|
8 September 2012 – Luca Filippi surprised many by winning the GP2 Feature Race at Monza, which marked his return to the championship on Saturday. The Italian overtook Max Chilton just after the latter’s pit-stop, with Davide Valsecchi seizing a sole series lead in sixth. There was disaster for title contender Luiz Razia, who retired after colliding with Fabio Leimer.
The win was set up with a solid start as pole man Max Chilton moved across to cover; the Italian was the first man to the Rettifilo, but was unable to slow down enough to make the second part of the chicane. Filippi ceded ground to the Briton but led Ericsson, Valsecchi and Cecotto around his home circuit as he waited for the pit-stops.
With hot and sunny conditions, and little in the way of collisions, there was no need for the field to pit early and so it was simply a case of who blinked first: Filippi, Valsecchi and Fabio Leimer came in on Lap 8 (the Swiss driver and series leader Luiz Razia coming together on his out-lap), forcing Chilton and Ericsson to pit next time by. The Briton emerged side-by-side with Filippi, who popped out of the tow for a pass between Lesmo and Ascari to put one hand on the trophy.
Cecotto stayed out and in the lead until Lap 13, eventually emerging just in front of Ericsson and looking for more while, behind them, Leimer and Felipe Nasr came together at the Roggia; the Brazilian was out on the spot while the Swiss driver started to hunt down Valsecchi.
Chilton was losing ground to Filippi and was clearly struggling; Cecotto made short work of the Briton at the Rettifilo on Lap 20, with Ericsson repeating the move two laps later while Filippi ran away, building up an unassailable lead. When the flag dropped, he had eased back to win from Cecotto by four seconds, with Ericsson one second behind and Chilton holding on for P4. Leimer was the next man across the line (and holder of the fastest lap), while Valsecchi finished in sixth. Stefano Coletti mugged Esteban Gutiérrez for P8 and tomorrow's reverse pole in the closing laps, with Julián Leal staying out long to claim the final points position in tenth.
Razia's retirement meant that Valsecchi has reclaimed his lead in the Drivers’ Championship, 212 points to the Brazilian's 204, while James Calado stays on 160, ahead of Gutiérrez on 152. The Lotus pair combine for 312 points in the teams’ title race, ahead of DAMS on 297 and Arden on 208, with more to play for in tomorrow morning's Sprint Race.
Monza’s Sprint Race begins at 10:35am local time (BST +1) on Sunday