Calderon finishes Monza sprint race in 14th
BWT Arden driver Tatiana Calderon brought her Italian GP weekend to a close with P14 in Sunday's sprint race.
With Guanyu Zhou being handed a grid drop penalty yesterday for a contact with Nicholas Latifi, Tatiana Calderon started the second weekend race on the iconic Autodromo Nazionale di Monza in 15th place. It was a good start from the Colombian, who got through the first tricky chicane in 14th place, ahead of Deletraz.
Up in front, it was a clean start for reverse-grid poleman Jack Aitken, who kept the lead from Jordan King and Giuliano Alesi. Mick Schumacher had a brilliant first lap and advanced 3 places, while home hero Luca Ghiotto damaged his front wing in the chaotic first corner but continued.
On lap 5, Ilott went past Alesi for third, with Sette Camara close behind and ready to pick up the pieces of the battles unfolding ahead of him. MP Motorsport's Jordan King was then told via radio to make a move quickly on race leader Aitken, in order not to damage his front tyres in dirty air: it didn't take long for the former IndyCar driver to make a move stick, as he did so one lap after at Prima Variante. Aitken came back at La Roggia, but had to cut the chicane and desisted.
The Virtual Safety Car was deployed for a contact between Ghiotto, De Vries and Sette Camara, when the Italian outbroke himself at the first chicane and hit the championship leader and the DAMS driver. Sette Camara had to retire, while Ghiotto had to come back to the pits for a new front wing.
De Vries, who escaped the contact without damage, was on a mission as soon as the race resumed and made up more positions until P5.
Aitken took advantage of the VSC to take King's slipstream and repassed his compatriot for the race lead, with the two drivers having to watch their mirrors from a fast charging Callum Ilott.
Calderon passed Raghunathan for P14 but then had to surrender the position back on lap 9.
Nyck De Vries overtook Alesi for P4 at Ascari, while the leaders engaged again in some more side by side action: King went past but both went wide at La Roggia, allowing Ilott to take second, with Aitken retaining the lead.
Yesterday's winner Matsushita passed Alesi for P4, but received a 5" penalty for a VSC infringement. It was then a five-drivers fight for the lead, with Aitken followed closely by Ilott, King, De Vries and Matsushita. The half-British-half-Korean race leader received a black and white warning flag after waving on the straights, as he tried to break his rival's toe.
In the closing laps, De Vries misjudged the first chicane braking and took the escape road, losing 3 seconds from the leading group. The same mistake happened at the last lap to Ilott, when he tried a desperate move for the win but went deep, hitting the wall and spinning into the grass. This paved the way to Jack Aitken, who crossed the line to take his third seasonal victory in Formula 2, ahead of King and De Vries, as the penalty demoted Matsushita to fifth.
Dutchman De Vries took home another important podium in his championship hunt, with title rival Latifi struggling in P10, pointless today.
It was an emotional win for Aitken, fellow member of the Renault Junior Academy as the late Hubert. The French flag was once again shown on the podium.
Calderon crossed the line in 14th, bringing a challenging Italian Grand Prix weekend to a close. Formula 2 will now head to Sochi, Russia, for the penultimate round of the season in three weeks time, with Colombian Calderon looking forward to secure her maiden championship points.
Ph credits: Formula 2 media