It was a mediocre GP3 Series weekend at best for the Status Grand Prix team at Monza, with Nick Yelloly’s fifth place in race two the best result from all three drivers. Richie Stanaway lost ground in the championship after a ninth place in race one an a retirement in race two, while Alfonso Celis Jr was fighting to score his first points of the season on Sunday before joining Stanaway in retirement.
Yelloly qualified third for Saturday’s opening race at Monza, but a bad first lap saw him fall down the order, eventually finishing in the final points paying position in tenth, but his Sunday race was much better, and the Briton was able to finish fifth after making a number of good overtaking manoeuvres.
“Going from third to 10th on Saturday was not cool, so it was good to get some decent points today,” said Yelloly. “I got a good launch at the start but I paid the price for being too nice at the first chicane. Then I worked my way up the order, made up a couple of places, and then did the best overtaking move I’ve ever done in my life on Richie and [Matheo] Tuscher!
“The pace was really good, quite a bit better than yesterday, and the Status GP boys did well to improve the car. We’ll be gunning for it over the final two rounds.”
Stanaway’s championship ambitions took a hit in Italy, after finishing ninth in race one on Saturday and then retiring with a mechanical issue in race two while running sixth. He was disappointed to fall fifty points behind Alex Lynn in the championship, and he knows he will have to close that gap down when the series resumes in Russia next month to remain in with a shout of the title.
“It was pretty exciting up to the problem,” said Stanaway. “I had a good start, but I broke my front wing in the first corner so that made things a little bit more difficult, and that gave me massive understeer. Despite this I was having some good fights, and then the engine let go – it was hugely disappointing to lose points while I’m fighting for a title, but there was nothing I could do about it.”
Celis Jr was having one of his strongest races of the season and was involved in the battle for the minor points on Sunday before running across the kerbing at the second chicane and breaking his suspension. At that time he was racing against Jann Mardenborough, himself a race winner in 2014, but admitted the mistake that cost him the chance of his maiden points was his own doing.
“I was having a really good race, and in the middle of the race I tried to pass Jann Mardenborough, so I put the car on the outside for Turn 1, but he moved across and that sent me wide over the sausage kerb,” said Celis Jr. “There was not much I could do. But what happened at the second chicane was my fault. I locked up the brakes and I hit the kerb and broke the suspension. Up to then I can’t complain – it was going well.”