The Racing Engineering squad took their seventh podium finish of the 2014 GP2 Series season when Stefano Coletti put in a stunning drive from ninth on the grid to finish second in the Monza Sprint race. Raffaele Marciello’s weekend was compromised by a bad start in the Feature race that put him into the wrong place at the wrong time on lap two, and was then hit by Sergio Canamasas in the Sprint race when trying to make up for lost time.
Coletti started twelfth, and felt a top eight finish should have been possible in the Feature race, but the Monegasque driver lost too much time battling with Julian Leal that he ultimately finished ninth, and was forced out of eighth place and the Sprint race pole position by a resurgent Jolyon Palmer making his way through the field.
“I almost stalled at the start, but made up positions at turn 1,” said Coletti. “Our strategy was good and after the pit stop we should have come out in front of [Marco] Sorensen. But I lost too much time during my battle with Leal and in the end Palmer passed me and I finished in P9.”
From ninth on the grid for the Sprint race, Coletti had an outstanding Sunday morning drive, moving up to sixth on the opening lap and then picking off Mitch Evans, Andre Negrao and Marco Sorensen to move up third. He then managed to pass Stephane Richelmi for second but could not get close enough to Palmer to challenge for the lead.
“I pushed really, really hard all race long to catch up, but when I saw towards the end that I wasn’t catching up enough per lap, I settled for second,” said Coletti. “It was an amazing race, my car was very, very quick, especially under braking and that’s why I out-braked everyone into the first turn. The team did a really good job, they gave me a really good car today, so thank to them, and I hope this won’t be my last podium this season.”
Marciello’s Feature race was over before he could really get going. After qualifying on the second row, the Italian had issues getting away and fell down the order to nineteenth, but was forced to retire on lap two, getting stuck in a gravel trap after trying to avoid an incident ahead of him.
“We had a problem at the start; I stalled and lost a lot of positions,” said Marciello. “After the opening lap another car in front of me spun and in avoiding a collision I went off the track and was stuck in the gravel.”
Marciello’s Sunday morning race began well, moving up from near the back of the field to thirteenth, but the Italian was a victim of Canamasas’ erratic driving, with the Spaniard hitting the Italian’s car that forced Marciello to put with a puncture.
“I had an OK start, but a good opening lap passing 12 cars as I was up to 13th,” revealed Marciello. “After the restart I put too much heat in my tyres, so slowed down a bit the following laps, but then I was quickly back on pace closing the gap on the cars in front of me battling for the points. When I was on the inside of Lesmo 1 Canamasas crashed into me all of the sudden, as a consequence I had a punctured tyre and but when back on track after a tyre change I felt that something more on my car must have been broken.”