Esteban Gutierrez has claimed the inaugural GP3 Series crown after taking pole position at Monza. The two bonus points awarded for pole have put the Mexican out of reach of nearest rival Robert Wickens in the standings.
It was Jenzer Motorsport driver Nico Muller who set the early pace in the final qualifying session of the season. Mirko Bortolotti, Renger van der Zande, Gutierrez, Josef Newgarden and Wickens were also quick early on.
Gutierrez went to the top of the timesheets with five minutes to go, just before yellow flags came out after Daniel Juncadella had spun his Tech 1 car. Gutierrez then improved his time, which put him out of reach.
Gutierrez's ART teammate Alexander Rossi went off at the Parabolica, bringing out the yellow flags again. In the final minutes, Wickens attempted to keep his championship hopes alive, but could only get himself up to fifth.
Van der Zande qualified second for Mucke, ahead of Muller, Tobias Hegewald and Wickens. Roberto Merhi was sixth, with Newgarden seventh and Nigel Melker eighth. Daniel Morad and Rio Haryanto rounded out the top ten.
After qualifying, Gutierrez told Autosport “From the beginning our main focus was not only to win races and to win the championship, but to be consistent through the whole season. And in the end we have been able to keep a high level of consistency, and we have been working to improve ourselves and not think too much about the other guys. We’ve just tried to do our best and focus on the job. Every mechanic, every engineer did his job and we had a really good synergy and a really good attitude. Everyone was really positive all the time, even in the hard times.”