Felix Da Costa wins thrilling season finale in Monza

12.09.2011: Status Grand Prix driver seals first GP3 Seriesô victory at Autodromo Nazionale Monza Antonio Felix Da Costa took his first victory this season in what was a dramatic final race of the

Status Grand Prix driver seals first GP3 Series™ victory at Autodromo Nazionale Monza
 


Antonio Felix Da Costa took his first victory this season in what was a dramatic final race of the 2011 GP3 Series™. The Portuguese driver finished ahead of championship runner-up James Calado, but the Lotus ART driver was handed a 20-second penalty for failing to take a drive-through penalty after causing a collision with Mitch Evans. Marussia Manor Racing’s Rio Haryanto was promoted to second and Nico Müller took the final podium spot.
 

Felix Da Costa took an early lead when the lights went out until poleman Evans fought back a lap later. Carlin’s Conor Daly held onto his third place at the start but the American was hit up the back into Ascari on the opening lap by champion Valtteri Bottas. Daly was out the race and the Finn was given a drive-through penalty. At the front Calado had put moves on both Felix Da Costa and Evans to take the lead.
 

With the top six drivers running nose-to-tail and covered by less than two seconds it was a fierce battle at the front. Behind the leading duo there was a three way battle for third between Evans, Muller and Simon Trummer. Evans took advantage diving up into P2 and then taking the lead from Calado. The Brit was straight back on the attack but three laps later when he tried to move ahead Calado went wide tapping Evans, putting the Kiwi out of the race.
 

Felix Da Costa took the lead and Calado was given a drive-through penalty on the penultimate lap, however he failed to come in and crossed the line in second place before being handed a 20-second post race penalty dropping him to fourteenth. Haryanto and Müller were promoted to the podium, and Trummer, Callum Macleod and Adrian Quaife-Hobbs took the last points paying positions.  
 

Calado could have tied with champion Bottas on points if he had won the race and set fastest lap, as the Finn scored no points. Bottas went on to snatch fastest lap as he crossed the line to seventeenth spot.
 

Despite not finishing the race Nigel Melker solidified third place in the drivers’ standings with 38-points, two more than Müller in fourth.
 


- Amanda Hunt - photo GP3

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12.09.2011 / MaP

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