It was another impressive display from rookie Arthur Pic during the GP2 Series event in Italy, following up his first front row grid slot of the season with a second place finish in the Feature race. The Campos Racing driver added further points with a sixth placed finish in the Sprint race at Monza, and now sits a comfortable seventh in the championship.
The weekend started well for Pic, as he was fastest in the sole free practice session on Friday before claiming second place on the grid alongside ART Grand Prix’s Stoffel Vandoorne for the Feature race.
“I’m very happy with our overall performance at Monza,” insisted Pic. “We were on the pace right from free practice and the car proved competitive throughout the whole weekend. It’s a shame that I caught some traffic in qualifying as we certainly had the speed to secure pole position.”
Vandoorne and Pic were almost in a race of their own at Monza during the Feature race, with the two drivers virtually nose to tail throughout. Pic benefited from running with less downforce than the majority of his closest rivals, but was disappointed not to get an opportunity to attack Vandoorne for the win as the Belgian driver did not put a foot wrong.
“We went with a different set-up to our main rivals so the car had less downforce,” revealed Pic. “On Saturday I managed to stay close to Stoffel until the very end but he didn’t make any mistakes so I never really had a proper shot at overtaking him. Nevertheless, I was still delighted to claim my second podium of the season.”
Starting seventh for the Sprint race, Pic was not as competitive on Sunday, but claimed more points for sixth place, inheriting that position after Jon Lancaster of Hilmer Motorsport was handed a post-race 20-second penalty for overtaking the Frenchman down the start/finish straight with all four wheels off the circuit.
“We were slightly less competitive on Sunday but still succeeded in scoring more valuable points after a great battle,” said Pic. “But I definitely think we’re now back in the groove after our slight blip at Spa. It’s up to us to carry that momentum into the next event.”
Pic’s Japanese team-mate Kimiya Sato once more failed to score any points, and was penalised after the Feature race for causing the collision with Daniel de Jong of MP Motorsport that ended both their races, which meant the Japanese driver was forced to start from the pit lane for the Sprint race. The 2014 Auto GP World Series champion climbed to twelfth during Sunday’s Sprint race but still could not break into the points.