Haryanto Takes Podium but Rossi’s Nightmare Season Continues

One of the pre-season GP2 Series Championship favourites Alexander Rossi continued to struggle as he endured his third consecutive pointless event in Monaco. His EQ8 Caterham Racing team-mate Rio Haryanto however scored points in both races, including a podium for third place in the Sprint race after taking seventh in the Feature.

Rossi qualified on the sixth row of the grid and made up a place to run tenth during the Feature race, but was penalised somewhat harshly with a drive-through penalty for causing a collision with the Hilmer Motorsport machine of Daniel Abt at the hairpin that saw the German retire against the barriers and the American fall out of contention for points.

“Two years in a row here in Monaco we have had an interesting race,” said Rossi. “My start was good, I was up to tenth and made a pass for ninth into the hairpin which I was quite pleased with. The red flag did not really affect us much but then I was given a drive through penalty, which I disagree with, as the hairpin is the slowest corner on the race calendar. If you try and go too wide through there on the outside there is just not enough steering lock, I had the line so I don’t really see it as fair but I obviously had to take the penalty.

“The drive through pretty much ruined my race otherwise we were on target for potential top five finish which was our goal after qualifying. From that point of view we can be happy with how the car worked and we had second fastest lap by one tenth and I was never in clean air.”

The Sprint race started well, with Rossi moving up four places from his sixteenth place grid slot, but got caught in the traffic jam behind the Trident Racing machine of Johnny Cecotto Jr and ultimately finished eleventh.

“I got a pretty mega start moving from 16th to 12th on the first lap and by lap three I was 11th when everything settled down into a typical Monaco race with very little overtaking.  Cecotto was at the lead of our ten car train on used tyres and backing everyone up but there was nothing he could do and nobody could get past him so it was a pretty steady race.

“It was a great result for Rio to get on the podium today and it shows that our car is quick and with a little less bad luck we will be back up there at the sharp end in Austria.”

Team-mate Haryanto impressed during qualifying, initially qualifying on the front row, but he was given a three place penalty for blocking, having been adjudged to have blocked DAMS driver Stephane Richelmi at La Rascasse. He made a poor start, and lost out at the pit stops to some drivers who made their own pit stop before the red flag came out for the incident that blocked the track at the hairpin.

“I started P5 and I didn’t make a perfect start dropping two places into the first corner but I knew it would be a long race and I didn’t want it to end there,” said Haryanto. “At the beginning I struggled a little with understeer but we were able to make a few changes on the car during the red flag which helped me for the second half.

“When the second safety car came out I made a pit stop for tyres but as some cars had made the stop before the red flag they were able to jump me when I left the pits. Finishing seventh is great for tomorrow as I will start on the front row of the grid and from there I will make the most of the opportunity to win.”

The Saturday morning Sprint race saw Haryanto start alongside Richelmi on the front row, but at the start he lost out to the Trident Racing machine of Spaniard Sergio Canamasas and had to settle for third place.

“It is a really great feeling to get a podium here in Monaco as it is one of the most difficult tracks on the calendar and requires a lot of concentration to keep pushing hard and make no mistakes.  I would have loved to finish second and I did everything I could at the start to maintain position and go for the lead but I got pushed out and Canamasas was able to go through. After that I just kept my cool and pushed until the flag.

“I also want to say a big thank you to the team for giving me such a good car this weekend.”