Bird and Coletti take wins amid Monaco carnage

GP2 Monaco

Start, GP2 feature race, Monaco, 2013Sam Bird and Stefano Coletti shared the plaudits with a win apiece in the GP2 races on the streets of Monaco. But Johnny Cecotto Jnr’s driving provided the major talking point of the weekend.

A consummate performance in qualifying bagged Cecotto pole position at the track for the second year running. However there was to be no repeat of his 2012 win.

Cecotto was beaten off the line by team mate Mitch Evans, then braked too late for the first corner and speared into barrier. A chain-reaction of crashes around him blocked the track, forcing the stewards to stop the race.

This was a less egregious error than some of those Cecotto has committed this year – notably his outrageous move on Bird during qualifying in Malaysia. But the stewards felt compelled to take action, and ordered him to to take no further part in the weekend.

Feature Race

Carnage at St. Devote causes red flag

Start, GP2 feature race, Monaco, 2013The 14 car pile-up at the first corner was not entirely Cecotto’s fault. But with more than half the filed parked at Sainte Devote the stewards has little alternative to stopping the race.

While Cecotto undoubtedly played a major role in provoking the carnage, others were also at fault. Kevin Ceccon missed his braking point and smashed into Bird’s rear wing. However the Russian Time driver was able to limp back to the grid where the wing was replaced as the drivers awaiting the restart.

Julian Leal also contributed to the melee, turning Jolyon Palmer around. Marcus Ericsson ran wide and found his path blocked by the Cecotto and Fabio Leimer collision. Tom Dillmann was helped to avoid running into the back of Ericsson. Daniel Abt and Rene Binder also got caught up, the latter losing his front wing.

The Leal-Palmer collision causing another domino effect, claiming Robin Frijns, Alexander Rossi, Coletti, Kevin Giovesi and both Addax drivers. Several of them returned to their cars during the delay in an effort to have the marshals restart them, to no avail.

Bird makes gains as Evans pits

Sam Bird, GP2, Monaco, 2013The race restarted behind the safety car, with Evans leading Bird. But the Russian Time was clearly capable of going much quicker on his soft tyres than Evans was on his super softs, almost tripping over the Arden driver in his attempt to get past.

Evans eventually pitted on lap 13, releasing Bird who immediately set a string of fastest laps. By the time Bird made his pit stop there was no longer any threat to him from behind. He comfortably resumed in the lead followed by Ceccon, who had jumped Evans in the pits as the Arden crew changed all four tyres.

The first-corner crash disrupted the field to the extent that the driver who’d qualified last managed to take pole position for the sprint race. Adrian Quaife-Hobbes had made it up to ninth in the closing stages and pinched eighth place off Stephane Richlemi on the penultimate lap. That gave him pole position for the sprint race.

Up front Sam Bird claimed an emphatic win by over 20 seconds from Ceccon. Evans bagged his second GP2 podium in third.

Result

Pos Driver Team Time/Lap Retired Grid
1 Sam Bird Russian Time 1hr 36’15.919 3
2 Kevin Ceccon Trident 22.077 5
3 Mitch Evans Arden 23.225 2
4 Felipe Nasr Carlin 23.416 9
5 James Calado ART 29.588 16
6 Stefano Coletti Rapax 1’00.519 14
7 Rene Binder Venezuela GP Lazarus 1’02.449 22
8 Adrian Quaife-Hobbs MP Motorsport 1’08.400 26
9 Stephane Richelmi DAMS 1’12.107 17
10 Daniel de Jong MP Motorsport 1’22.410 18
11 Tom Dillmann Russian Time 1’29.356 8
12 Jon Lancaster Hilmer 1 Lap 24
13 Simon Trummer Rapax 1 Lap 21
14 Jake Rosenzweig Addax 1 Lap 23
15 Sergio Canamasas Caterham 2 Laps 12
16 Daniel Abt ART 2 Laps 20
DNF Rio Haryanto Addax 27 25
DNF Robin Frijns Hilmer 1 10
DNF Nathanel Berthon Trident 1 15
DNF Marcus Ericsson DAMS 1 11
DNF Kevin Giovesi Venezuela GP Lazarus 1 19
DNF Jolyon Palmer Carlin 1 6
DNF Julian Leal Racing Engineering 1 7
DNF Johnny Cecotto Arden 1 1
DNF Fabio Leimer Racing Engineering 1 4
DNF Alexander Rossi Caterham 1 13

Fastest Lap: Sergio Canamasas (EQ8 Caterham Racing) – 1’22.169 (on lap 29)
Fastest Lap Points: Stefano Coletti (Rapax) – 1’23.665 (on lap 9)

Sprint Race

Coletti storms another start

Adrian Quaife-Hobbes, Stefano Coletti, Mitch Evans, GP2, Monaco, 2013Coletti got a fantastic start from third as he easily disposed of second placed Binder to follow Quaife-Hobbs up the hill for the first time.

Evans was another to make a good start as he pulled a fantastic move on Calado at Portier to take third. Felipe Nasr soon demoted the British driver another place as Calado cut a corner while attempting to defend a move from Nasr, forcing him to give the place up.

Up front, Coletti was determined to make gains early on as he pulled a fantastic move on Quaife-Hobbs into the Nouvelle Chicane to take a lead he never lost.

Trains form as tyres drop off

Rain clouds hovered throughout the race but never amounted to anything and tyres once again ended up dictating the end of the race.

Binder, Sergio Canamasas and Jon Lancaster suffered the most with degradation and all ended up with queues behind them. The two British drivers suffered a precipitous loss in pace, causing each surrendering several places.

Coletti was untroubled, periodically backing off to save his tyres, and scored a rare home victory for a Monaco driver. Quaife-Hobbs scored his first podium with second and Evans made it two in a row for the weekend.

Result

Pos Driver Team Time/Lap Retired Grid
1 Stefano Coletti Rapax 42’50.707 3
2 Adrian Quaife-Hobbs MP Motorsport 1.869 1
3 Mitch Evans Arden 2.218 6
4 Felipe Nasr Carlin 2.536 5
5 James Calado ART 3.747 4
6 Rene Binder Venezuela GP Lazarus 19.293 2
7 Kevin Ceccon Trident 20.015 7
8 Stephane Richelmi DAMS 20.576 9
9 Daniel de Jong MP Motorsport 21.197 10
10 Jake Rosenzweig Addax 31.72 14
11 Sergio Canamasas Caterham 34.105 15
12 Jolyon Palmer Carlin 35.775 22
13 Fabio Leimer Racing Engineering 36.488 24
14 Julian Leal Racing Engineering 36.913 23
15 Robin Frijns Hilmer 42.125 18
16 Rio Haryanto ddax 43.235 17
17 Jon Lancaster Hilmer 1’03.893 12
18 Marcus Ericsson DAMS 1’04.258 20
19 Alexander Rossi Caterham 1’04.735 25
20 Kevin Giovesi Venezuela GP Lazarus 1’05.044 21
21 Nathanael Berthon Trident 1’05.468 19
22 Daniel Abt ART 1’06.174 16
23 Simon Trummer Rapax 1’07.413 13
24 Sam Bird Russian Time 1 Lap 8
25 Tom Dillmann Russian Time 3 Laps 11

*Johnny Cecotto was excluded from the Sprint Race after it was deemed he caused the first corner collision in the Feature Race.
Fastest Lap: Sam Bird (Russian Time) – 1’22.375 (on lap 21)
Fastest Lap Points: Stefano Coletti (Rapax) – 1’22.853 (on lap 8)

Drivers’ championship points

Coletti added yet another sprint race win to his collection while Nasr continued his run of top four places to stay within range of his Rapax rival. Bird moves into third place with his win.

Pos Driver Points
1 Stefano Coletti 120
2 Felipe Nasr 96
3 Sam Bird 58
4 Fabio Leimer 54
5 James Calado 40
6 Robin Frijns 37
7 Mitch Evans 36
8 Jolyon Palmer 31
9 Kevin Ceccon 28
10 Alexander Rossi 27
11 Johnny Cecotto 23
12 Adrian Quaife-Hobbs 23
13 Tom Dillmann 22
14 Jon Lancaster 17
15 Stephane Richelmi 15
16 Rene Binder 11
17 Julian Leal 10
18 Simon Trummer 8
19 Marcus Ericsson 4
20 Daniel Abt 3
21 Conor Daly 2
22 Rio Harayanto 2
23 Daniel de Jong 1

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14 comments on Bird and Coletti take wins amid Monaco carnage

  1. Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 25th May 2013, 20:24

    Must have been a long time since a Monegasque driver won a race at home.

  2. AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 25th May 2013, 20:27

    It continues to surprise me that Coletti keeps popping up at the front this season, and is now leading the championship quite comfortably. I don’t follow the junior categories that closely, but I didn’t think he was regarded as a title candidate before the season. Also, looking at his results on Wikipedia suggests he is a decent driver but not championship material, yet here he is, leading the premier feeder series for F1.

    It has been mentioned recently that for the junior categories, it is useful to have tyres that allow drivers to push very hard, which makes it easier to separate the wheat from the chaff. Could it be that Coletti has ‘simply’ found the sweet spot of these tyres better than other drivers?

    Finally, the qualifying format for the sprint race continues to frustrate me. Not only don’t I like the reversed-grid principle (rewarding a driver with a pole for finishing in an arbitrary position), I also don’t like that a misfortune in race 1 (especially when a driver is the innocent victim of a collision, as many were in the feature race), that you can just as well go home for the sprint race, especially at a circuit like Monaco.

    A not really related question: why is FR3.5 so much slower than last year, and thus slower than the GP2 cars around Monaco?

    • Nick.UK (@) said on 25th May 2013, 22:37

      I’m not sure they have harder tyres do they? Maybe it’s just as the cars are a bit slower they therefore generate less degredation.

      • Younger Hamii (@younger-hamii) said on 25th May 2013, 23:58

        For some races they do, likewise with softer compounds, the latter for Bahrain, when obviously Pirelli made the last-minute change from mediums to softs for the options but stuck with the original options in the softs.

        Yes, that’s just it, less downforce means less demand on the tyres, hence lower deg but less able to ‘protect the tyres’ than F1 cars when necessary

        • Younger Hamii (@younger-hamii) said on 26th May 2013, 0:02

          Pirelli made the last-minute change from mediums to softs for the options but stuck with the original options in the softs.

          Stuck with the original option tyre compound in the softs for GP2 I mean.

    • wsrgo (@wsrgo) said on 26th May 2013, 5:39

      @adrianmorse I myself was surprised with the pace of the FR3.5 car. I’m hearing that the spec of Michelins they’ve got is preventing them from getting good traction out of Portier, so they’re losing tons of time through the second sector. Muller’s 1st and 3rd sector times were actually quicker than Cecotto’s.

      As for GP2, I don’t think it tests the true pace of a driver. If a team hits upon the right tyre-car setup, they can romp to the win. Talented drivers like Bianchi found it difficult in GP2, but his junior formula record is superb in all other series.

      I guess that is why all F1 teams send their junior drivers to WSR.

  3. Yoshitsune (@yobo01) said on 25th May 2013, 20:32

    Having Evans on both podium was a nice surprise. He behaved really well. His move on Calado was fantastic.

    I’m super happy for Coletti. I don’t know why, I’ve always liked him. But I didn’t expect him to do so well. If he keeps this up, he can be in F1 next year, which is something that I had never imagined.

  4. obviously said on 26th May 2013, 4:44

    I haven’t been following GP2 too much, but after getting reacquainted a bit, I have just one question:

    Why is that bleeding moron, idiot, pathetic-excuse-for-a-driver Cecotto still allowed anywhere near FIA sanctioned events?

    I can’t believe the amount of horrible, dirty moves that guy makes almost every weekend. He should never be allowed into F1. It’s a complete disgrace that he is allowed to stay in GP2 and ruin the hard work of so many young guys who are trying their best to make something of themselves.

  5. GeeMac (@geemac) said on 26th May 2013, 9:23

    I missed yesterday’s action because I was travelling. Late in the day I managed to get hold of the video of the start of the GP2 feature race because I had read there had been an incident, amusingly hailed as a “GP2 start”, so I thought I should have a look as it would probably be a giggle. When I watched it however, I could only shake my head in disbelief.

    The reason is simple: These guys are one step off Formula 1 and they behaved like complete amateurs through turn 1 of a race at Monaco. Ste. Devote is a corner every motorsport fan in the world knows there are inevitably going to be problems at when the cars head through there for the first time. Did the GP2 field not have the sense to take it easy through there, focussing on the bigger picture of the race weekend or indeed their careers? Surely they should have gotten together ahead of the race and said “Ok chaps, this is the biggest race of the year, all the F1 teams and their corporate sponsors are here are, lets not do anything stupid at the first corner. It’ll be a long race, it’s a tough track to pass on, so lets be patient and show them that we have what it takes to be in F1.” But no, they behave like a bunch of spanners in a public online Forza 4 lobby.

    All I can find myself asking after watching this recent incident of poor driving in GP2 this season is: Are these guys really good enough to be at the pinnacle of motorsport next season?

    • obviously said on 26th May 2013, 12:49

      @geemac I wouldn’t even play F1 game with that Cecotto! I don’t know how one of these drivers didn’t knocking him out by now. The way he drives is so stupid, that he is making mistakes I worked out after driving three races in my first F1 game. For example, you don’t plunge into the first corner while you are on the inside. (Spa last year)

      • GeeMac (@geemac) said on 26th May 2013, 13:00

        He clearly has pace, but he really needs to develop his racecraft…sounds like another Venezuelan chap we all know!

        • obviously said on 26th May 2013, 14:31

          Racecraft, maybe? That guy needs to work on his character and sportsmanship first and foremost! Other things will come along with that.

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