Monza never disappoints. The opening race of the FIA Formula 2 Championship weekend at the Italian venue was tense, spectacular and unpredictable for PERTAMINA PREMA Theodore Racing and for all its contenders. Lining-up at the start of the feature race after a tough qualifying session, the Italian squad experienced the challenges of the home venue but eventually rebounded to grab the last points paying position in P10 with Nyck De Vries.
The Dutchman experienced a tough start as he was slowed down by a technical concern on the way to the grid and, after the issue was solved, a troubled takeoff. After dropping to the last place, De Vries put up a great recovery and eventually got up to 10th place, ending up just short of race 2’s reverse grid pole despite his remarkable pace and a perfect pit-stop.
Indonesian racer Sean Gelael delivered an equally convincing showing to improve from P17. At the start, he pulled an amazing move that propelled him to P11, then he eventually crossed the finishing line in P12 after battling for the top-10 for the most part of the distance.
Sean Gelael, Car #3
Free Practice: P16 Fastest lap: 1:35.568
Qualifying: P17 Fastest lap: 1:32.913
Starting Grid Race 1: P17 Race 1: P12
“We had a really good start from P17 to P11 and then we basically stayed there. We had a bit of a fight with the cars in front, some of which were cutting the track and pushing us on the grass. I think we went into the grass too at some point. We were a bit unlucky there, but we fought back and we were fighting for the top-10. In the closing stages, we locked up under braking. At first, I thought it was my mistake but after a first analysis, we saw that it needs a further look: it wasn’t just a matter of braking a little bit too late. I flat-spotted my left front and then it was difficult with the resulting degradation and graining. That’s why we dropped back a bit. Hopefully tomorrow with the same pace, car and start we should be fighting further in front. Let’s get the points first as it’s been a long time.”
Nyck De Vries, Car #4
Free Practice: P20 Fastest lap: No time
Qualifying: P11 Fastest lap: 1:32.566
Starting Grid Race 1: P11 Race 1: P10
“Procedurally, I did everything as planned, but already coming to the grid we had some issues so we didn’t have a smooth run into our race. Then at the start, we lost a lot of ground for an unexplained reason at the moment. Then I think we did a good race, we had a fine pace, maybe not as good as our main contenders, but we were pretty much there and we only need a bit of fine-tuning to match them. Despite the issues we still did a decent job, maximizing everything. Pit entry, pit exit, the stop was mega. I lost time by staying out one more lap but that was again due to the start. Shame we couldn’t get the reverse grid pole but… it is the way it is.”