September 5, 2016 in 2016 GP2 Series
- Highest grid position of the year for Pic with third
Arthur Pic was denied the chance to fight for a GP2 Series podium at Monza (2-4 September) after being involved in a collision with Sergio Canamasas in an eventful Feature Race.
The Frenchman harboured fond memories of the historic Italian circuit coming into the weekend having taken a podium here 12 months ago, and was straight on the pace as he posted the fourth fastest time in qualifying for his best Friday performance of the year.
A penalty for Antonio Giovinazzi saw Pic promoted to third on the grid ahead of the 30-lap contest, as he set about hunting down his second rostrum of 2016.
It was a fantastic start for the Rapax driver, as he got past Artem Marklelov at the first chicane despite being forced out wide onto the run-off area. Pic then battled Pierre Gasly for the lead, but could not quite squeeze past his countryman after several attempts.
Tyre degradation started to come into play and Pic dropped behind Markelov, before a fight-back saw him overtake the Russian once again. The stewards, however, adjudged Arthur to not have slowed down enough in the first sector after going off the track during the manoeuvre and he was handed a five-second time penalty.
After pitting for the medium compound tyres and serving his penalty, Pic emerged on the cusp of the top-10 and made a move down the inside of Canamasas at the second Lesmo for a net fourth place. Pic was squeezed onto the apex, which caused him to lose the rear of his car and make contact with Sergio’s right-rear tyre, sending the Spaniard into a spectacular flip.
The stewards found Pic to be in the wrong and he was handed a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s Sprint Race.
Starting from the pit-lane, Arthur made good inroads on those ahead, but ultimately the French ace was unable to challenge for the points. Following the penalty for Latifi, he had to settle for 11th in spite of his strong pace.
The focus now turns to Kuala Lumpur, in support of the Malaysian Grand Prix (30 September – 2 October) for the penultimate round of the championship.
“Friday was a good day. We had a fresh engine, which worked well. The pace was obviously there as we got P9 in free practice and fourth in qualifying,” said Pic. “It was great to have some performance back, you can definitely feel the difference!
“Antonio Giovinazzi received a penalty so I moved up another position. I had a good start from P3, and was up to second by the end of the first lap. I then made a few attempts to overtake Pierre Gasly but he closed the door, it was a good fight. Artem Markelov and I were then battling for P2 and I got a five-second penalty because I cut the chicane when overtaking him. The problem was that I didn’t slow down enough.
“When I came back out I was fighting with Sergio Canamasas for a net fourth. I got into the second Lesmo next to Sergio, he saw me and didn’t back off and went into the corner alongside me. We had contact, then he rolled and I stopped in the gravel trap. It is a shame, but this is racing and the most important thing remains that Sergio was unhurt. I went to the stewards and they gave me a three-place grid penalty for the crash.
“For Race Two I had to start from the pit lane. The car was working really well, which is quite frustrating as we had good pace and I climbed back to 12th. Raffele Marciello who started alongside me, finished around five seconds behind me and he was P2 yesterday, so that shows just how good our speed was. It’s a shame.
“I don’t know the Sepang Circuit at all, so it will be a surprise. The series hasn’t raced here for four years so it’s going to be new for nearly all the drivers. Until then, we now have a break for a few weeks and I’ll be going to Dallara to work on the simulator for Malaysia.”