Filippi Wins Feature Race As Runner-Up Battle Tightens

Luca Filippi took a commanding victory in the GP2 feature race on home soil at Monza to close up in the battle for the runner-up spot in the championship standings.

The Italian began the race from the front row alongside polesitter Charles Pic, but took the lead from the Frenchman at the start. From there he opened up a gap and took the victory by 5.6 seconds. He recorded the fastest lap of the race on lap 27, scooping a potentially crucial bonus point.

Pic came under threat from Alvaro Parente in the first half of the race. After keeping him at bay he then had to fend off Romain Grosjean, who had jumped Parente in the stops. Pic remained ahead of his compatriot, the eight points for second place being enough to jump him into second place in the standings.

Parente could have finished fourth but was handed a drive-through penalty for an unsafe release. This gave the position to Sam Bird, who had come through from tenth on the grid having jumped both Adam Carroll and Fabio Leimer in the pits. Carroll finished fifth, ahead of Christian Vietoris and Leimer, who had lost three places at the start having lined up third on the grid.

Taking the final point in what could be a crucial result in the race for second overall was Jules Bianchi. Coming to Italy third in the standings just one point behind Giedo van der Garde, the pair both endured a terrible qualifying and shared the tenth row of the grid. Bianchi made a great start to the race to climb to 11th prior to the pitstops. He gained a place during the stops and then took advantage of penalties for Parente and Dani Clos to finish eighth. Van der Garde meanwhile got tangled up at the start and later received a penalty for cutting the first chicane, finishing a lap down in 21st.

While Bianchi's result may only draw him level with van der Garde and see him fall behind Pic and Filippi, he does have pole position for the second race courtesy of the reverse grid, while his two main rivals will start from the fourth row. Pic has 52 points, Filippi 51 with Bianchi and van der Garde tied on 49.