Lotus GP secured the GP3 team’s championship for the third year running when Daniel Abt took victory in race one at the season finale at the Monza circuit in Italy this weekend. Together with Conor Daly’s points for fourth place in race one, the team wrapped up the team’s title with one race to spare!
After qualifying 8th on the grid for race one, Daniel Abt was aiming high with his second win in seven days firmly within his sights. After making yet another of his lightning fast starts where he moved to P3 and then to P1 just a few laps later, his aim was realised and he had set the scene for a thrilling fight to the finish for the drivers crown.
Teammate Aaro Vainio , who started 13th on the grid, drove brilliantly to finish third, however, he was later penalised for ignoring yellow flags. The twenty seconds added to his race time saw third place and his dreams of winning the championship disappear. Conor Daly, who started ninth on the grid, also drove a strong race to cross the line in fourth place overall.
Race two and Daniel was in the fight for championship honors, however if he wanted to follow in the footsteps of Valtteri Bottas and make it into the GP3 series Hall of Fame, he needed to win the second race while his rival failed to score. Excitement prevailed as he sliced his way through the field from eighth to fourth to second while his rival encountered one problem after another. With two laps to go, he was leading the race and his rival was out of the points in 20th place, the crown was his, however, with his tyres fading fast, a late charge from another driver snatched the lead and crown out of his hands.
"I'm at a loss for words to describe the feelings I went through this weekend. First things first, a big thank you to Lotus GP for this incredible season. It's not only the win and the title hunt that was magnificent on Saturday, but the way we did it. I had my share of bad luck at the beginning of the season and to secure two wins in a row was the best way to be paid back. It was a dream scenario in race 2 when I took P1. I fought hard to keep it and we had a great battle together with Ellinas, with a lot of overtaking manoeuvres, but I struggled a lot with my tyres in the last four laps. Well, I missed out the championship by two points but we have to see it in a positive way. I am the best rookie of the season, Lotus and I had a fantastic relationship and I've shown what I'm capable of. It will take time to sink in but I honestly think we can be proud of what we achieved. Again, thank you all!"