Oliver Rowland: “I’m quite happy to be on the podium”

Oliver Rowland - Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

2015 Formula Renault 3.5 Series champion Oliver Rowland secured his maiden GP2 Series podium around the streets of Monaco after a strong drive to third during Friday’s Feature race.

The Racing Steps Foundation-backed Briton and part of the Renault Sport Academy in 2016, took his MP Motorsport machine to third place after starting fifth, and harried Norman Nato throughout the second half of the race having made a move on Mitch Evans at the restart following the first Virtual Safety Cars that heavily affected the second half of the race.

“It feels really good,” said Rowland after the Feature race. “To be honest, I started the race fifth so I’m quite happy to be on the podium.

“We had really good pace, I was able to fight with Mitch [Evans] and passed him at the re-start of the Virtual Safety Car. It was a pretty good day.”

Much like with Nato, Rowland was surprised to see Artem Markelov jump ahead of both of them during the Russian’s pit stop after the Russian Time driver had made up a lot of time during the Virtual Safety Car periods.

“I put quite a lot of pressure on Norman but he did a really good job to stay in front after the pit stop,” said Rowland on GP2series.com.

“It was a pretty good day. It was just a bit strange when Artem came out first. I didn’t expect that!”

Rowland would lose a place at the start of the Sprint race on Saturday, but secured more points with a seventh place finish, meaning the Briton sits seventh in the championship having scored points in all four races so far in 2016.