Italian GP: Kristoffer Holm denies Locksey at Monza
As race day dawned at Autodromo di Monza, the grandstands was once again filled by red. More than anything else, the Tifosi wanted their Ferrari heroes to claim victory at the Italian GP. Chances looked good as the Ferrari duo lined up second and fourth, but it wouldn't be an easy task beat the Red Bull cars.
Up at the front, Kristoffer Holm made the most out of his pole position to lead the field into the first chicane, followed to Locksey who had jumped passed both Peter Bohlin and teammate Adrian Holm off the line. Adrian defended third place ahead of Jonas Andersson, while Bohlin dropped down to fifth. Even though it took a few laps for Bohlin to get past Andersson, it was immediately clear that no one was going to challenge the Ferraris or Red Bulls in this race, as they quickly built a gap the rest of the field. Kristoffer slowly increased his lead over Locksey through the first stint, peaking at four seconds right before the pit stops. Locksey began the pit stop cycle on lap 22, while Holm stayed out for another five laps allowing Locksey to be right in his tail after the stop. The Ferrari driver kept the pressure up on the Red Bull in front, but never managed to find his way past, eventually ending up only 0.2 seconds behind as the checkered flag came out on lap 53. Bohlin claimed third place, 16 seconds from the lead, as he still chases that illusive victory on home soil.
After letting Bohlin through on lap four, Andersson focused on keeping teammate Jörgen Ekroth at bay as the Japanese driver closed the gap lap by lap. Ekroth was in turn under pressure from Tomas Vilis and on lap 18 the Lotus driver made his move. He was soon on Andersson's tail as well, and only four laps later he left both Renaults behind him.
As pit stops was underway, Adrian Holm exited the pits behind both Renaults after his stop. The Norwegian driver was all over the back of Ekroth as the pair headed down towards the Ascari chicane. Holm opted for the inside line but as Ekroth shut the door closed, the collision was unavoidable. The Renault took the heavier hit of the two, but both still managed to get back to the pits and rejoin the race after repairs. While Ekroth did his best to still claim a few points, Adrian started his fight back through the field and he was soon up into seventh place, and closing rapidly on Andersson and Reiko Lill in front. By lap 47 he was past Lill, and a few laps later he took advantage of a lapping situation involving Anders Karlsson to move up. The gap to Vilis in fourth place was too large, and Holm finally had to settle for fifth place. Andersson finished sixth ahead of Markus Walter who lost time early in the race, and was not able to recover. Ekroth picked up a few points for eighth place, while Erki Kaseväli scored his first career points in ninth place. The Force India driver fought a close fight with Anders Karlsson through the first ten laps of the race, before he eventually could pull away. Karlsson picked up the final point.
Three drivers never saw the checkered flag as Reiko Lill suffered an engine failure on lap 48, Kalle Palmre hit troubles in the pits on lap 34 and Sten Teeorg crashed out at Della Roggia on lap 1, having started from the pits following contact with the wall on the formation lap.
With his second consecutive victory, Kristoffer Holm increased his advantage in the drivers championship to 14 points over Locksey. Adrian Holm still hangs on to third place, but just two point ahead of Bohlin while Andersson is finding it increasingly difficult to keep up with the top four. The Italian GP was also a good race for Red Bull in the constructors championship as the Austrian outfit increased their gap to Ferrari to 37 points.
As usual, the Italian GP marked the end of the European part of the F1 season and the teams will now move east, starting with the night race in Singapore. See you there!
Published 2011-09-12 by Jonas Andersson | Edit