Italian clinches title in fine style with win on home soil
Mirko Bortolotti clinched the 2011 FIA Formula Two Championship in dramatic style today (Sunday), securing the title crown, together with a Williams F1 test, with a superb win in Monza in front of his home crowd.
The 21-year-old Italian, who has dominated from the start of this season, picked up his fifth win of the year during a thrilling round 14, which saw Spanish drivers Ramon Pineiro finish second and Miki Monras in third – his first podium since Silverstone back in April.
Brit Alex Brundle drove a superb race from seventh on the grid to work his way up to fourth, just ahead of F2 newcomer and fellow countryman Luciano Bacheta who enjoyed his best result of the year to round out the top five.
As the lights went out for the start of the 21-lap race, it was Pineiro who made the better start with Bortolotti dropping to second and going over the curbs at Turn 1. Bortolotti soon re-took Pineiro though by braking late into the same corner and after that never looked trouble to win by a margin of more than eight seconds.
Behind, Pineiro and Monras put on a great battle for the remaining podium places with 19-year-old Pineiro just keeping a reformed Monras at bay despite the two running nose-to-tail throughout.
Brundle put in one of his best ever performances to finish fourth, overtaking Bacheta and Jack Clarke with the trio of Brits all looking strong around the 5.793km F1 venue.
Zanella, Bortolotti’s only title rival today, also put in a valiant performance from P11 to cross the line sixth, just beating Clarke as they crossed the line.
Dutchman Kelvin Snoeks enjoyed a great race to secure eighth ahead of Tobias Hegewald who was unable to capitalise on his P3 start. Benjamin Lariche completed the top 10 with Sunghak Mun and Plamen Kralev impressing to finish 12th and 13th respectively.
Speaking afterwards a delighted Bortolotti said: “I don’t have words to explain how I feel now, I think I have to realise it. I’m just so happy.
“It’s been a really good weekend. Unfortunately, yesterday we were unable to get the maximum points even though the race was very good. The aim for today was just trying to take another win and after the pole position obviously that was the main aim. The race itself was quite interesting, my start was not so good and Ramon managed to pass me in the first chicane. After that I felt I can be a little bit quicker and tried to get with him in the first couple of laps. As soon as I had a chance I tried to get my nose inside and tried to pass him. Finally I managed and he was very fair in that spot and it could have ended another way for sure.”
Commenting on the title crown he added: “For me it was just amazing. It was the aim to win the championship. Before the season you say many things and then you have to prove it on the track, that’s the main thing in racing so finally we did it and I cannot say how I feel, I’m so happy.”
Bortolotti will now enjoy a full test in a Williams F1 car in Abu Dhabi in November. Meanwhile, the final rounds of the 2011 F2 series take place in Barcelona on 28-30 October.
Race two, Monza, results:
1. Mirko Bortolotti, 21 Laps
2. Ramon Pineiro, +8.861s
3. Miki Monras, +9.198s
4. Alex Brundle, +9.999s
5. Luciano Bacheta, +19.428s
6. Christopher Zanella, +20.281s
7. Jack Clarke, +20.416s
8. Kelvin Snoeks, +25.799s
9. Tobias Hegewald, +28.015s
10. Benjamin Lariche, +28.799s