Jani Takes Close Win in Race 2

Neel Jani held his nerve to take a nail-biting win in race two at Monza, crossing the line just four tenths of a second ahead of Nico Rosberg, with Giorgio Pantano finishing just behind the pair

Jani Takes Close Win in Race 2

The victory was one of the closest yet in GP2, and the Swiss driver was lucky that the race finished when it did - Rosberg was climbing all over his tail on the last lap and looked certain to take the top spot if it had run for even one more lap.

The race got off to an unusual start when the drivers were waiting for the lights to go out and were greeted instead with flashing red lights - an overnight rain storm had damaged the track's equipment, and the lights became usable.

Instead, the pack circulated once more and then took a rolling start behind the Safety Car. Pole sitter Ferdinando Monfardini was unable to hold back fellow front row starter Jani and the Swiss driver was through before the first chicane.

Behind the pair Rosberg was pushing Nelson Piquet Jr hard for sixth place, powering past the Brazilian into the Parabolica on the first lap, and then getting by Nicolas Lapierre just two corners later.

Fellow Championship contender Kovalainen was having a torrid time trying to keep up - an attempt to push by Piquet at the second chicane failed, and the Finn was flying through the gravel and looking for a way back on track.

At the front of the pack Jani put in the fastest lap of the race to build a gap over Monfardini, who was already heading a queue of drivers looking to get past, namely Pantano, Adam Carroll and a flying Rosberg.

Kovalainen, now safely back on track, ran by teammate Lapierre on lap four, but seemed to be struggling for pace and handling on his car. Two laps later he was back down to ninth position after a small mistake, and he had all of his work to do once more.

Meanwhile Piquet was battling with Hiroki Yoshimoto, who was determined to bring home some points after his disappointment in Turkey. Yoshimoto looked to have the better of the Brazilian, but Piquet knocked into the side of his car at the second chicane, putting himself out of the race and the Japanese driver into the pits.

It was the start of a period of mayhem all over the track - Ernesto Viso spun off, as did Jose Maria Lopez while trying to overtake Toni Vilander in the first chicane, while Lapierre had a big hit when he found the barriers at the back of the circuit.

Up at the front Jani had almost a two second lead over Monfardini, who was soaking up the pressure from Pantano and Rosberg, while a queue was forming behind Carroll comprised of Clivio Piccione, Juan Cruz Alvarez and Kovalainen.

Kovalainen forced his way past Alvarez for seventh place, which turned into sixth when Piccione was handed a drive through penalty for having his mechanics on the grid for too long at the start, and the Finn was suddenly looking for a way past the Ulsterman for fifth place.

On lap fourteen Pantano had finally tired of his view of Monfardini's rear wing and tried to muscle his way through at the first chicane. He left his braking far too late, however, and was forced to run straight, handing third place to Rosberg.

Two laps later and Rosberg showed Pantano, now behind him, how it should be done - he easily outbraked Monfardini at the second chicane and was off in pursuit of the leader. Behind them Kovalainen also passed Carroll, and was pushing hard for more points.

With three laps to go Rosberg was three seconds behind Jani, and the hunt was on. The German was easily able to run more than a second a lap faster than the Swiss driver, leading to a dramatic final lap where Rosberg was looking for a way past at every turn.

But time had run out - Jani was just able to hold on for victory ahead of Rosberg, with Pantano third after finally finding a way past Monfardini. Kovalainen crossed the line just one tenth of a second behind the Italian, with Carroll following well behind for sixth place and one point.

Rosberg, Kovalainen and Scott Speed had a secondary battle over the final three laps, with each of the three looking for the two points for fastest lap - Speed finally claimed them, and Kovalainen's lead in the Championship was shrunk to just six points over Rosberg, with just four races remaining.

CLASSIFIED: Pos Driver Team Time 1. Jani Racing Engineering 33:54.148 2. Rosberg ART Grand Prix + 0.488 3. Pantano Super Nova International + 2.416 4. Monfardini Durango + 6.162 5. Kovalainen Arden International + 6.207 6. Carroll Super Nova International + 11.210 7. Hernandez Campos Racing + 15.062 8. Vilander Coloni Motorsport + 27.050 9. Artam iSport International + 30.031 10. Garcia Racing Engineering + 34.518 11. Fauzy DAMS + 38.846 12. Lauda Coloni Motorsport + 40.056 13. Negrao Hitech Piquet Sports + 40.657 14. Piccione Durango + 40.902 15. Speed iSport International + 81.370 16. Yoshimoto BCN Competicion + 90.273 17. Alvarez Campos Racing + 1 Lap 18. Premat ART Grand Prix + 1 Lap NOT CLASSIFIED/RETIREMENTS: Driver Team On Lap Mondini DPR 14 Lapierre Arden International 8 Lopez DAMS 8 Piquet Jr Hitech Piquet Sports 6 Viso BCN Competicion 6 Pla DPR 5 
Viso Sent to the Back of the Grid

Previous article

Viso Sent to the Back of the Grid

Next article

Speed Loses Fastest Lap

Speed Loses Fastest Lap
Load comments

About this article

Series FIA F2
Author David Cameron
Was Formula 2’s radical format switch a success? Plus

Was Formula 2’s radical format switch a success?

Going into the 2021 Formula 2 season the biggest talking point wasn’t about any drivers or teams, but the new race weekend format. Created partly out of financial necessity but also to spice up the action, the Bahrain opener provided a snapshot of the positives and negatives to come

Apr 4, 2021
Why 2021 is make-or-break for the driver F1 needs Plus

Why 2021 is make-or-break for the driver F1 needs

He was tipped for glory in FIA Formula 2 last year, but was hampered by reliability woes at inopportune moments. Guanyu Zhou knows he won't get too many more chances if he is to become China's first F1 driver, with fierce competition within the ranks of Alpine's junior stable

Mar 25, 2021
How Schumacher Jr earned his Haas F1 chance Plus

How Schumacher Jr earned his Haas F1 chance

Michael Schumacher may have won seven Formula 1 titles, but he didn't even compete for a crown at the second tier. Son Mick put that right in 2020, and proved to Ferrari that he was deserving of a shot at motorsport's elite category in 2021

Jan 9, 2021
The quintet giving Ferrari a tough decision to make Plus

The quintet giving Ferrari a tough decision to make

The Ferrari Driver Academy earned a podium sweep in the first Formula 2 race of the new decade in Austria last weekend. The battle between 'the FDA five' is set to be one of the major subplots of the season, but who has the best F1 prospects for 2021?

Jul 8, 2020
The Williams junior determined to prove Red Bull wrong Plus

The Williams junior determined to prove Red Bull wrong

Dropped by his team in Japan and by Red Bull, Dan Ticktum's single-seater career seemed to be over last summer. But now he's on the Formula 2 grid with the reigning champion team, and he's a new protege of Williams. How did that happen?

Mar 20, 2020
The controversial weekend that ended an American's dream in Europe Plus

The controversial weekend that ended an American's dream in Europe

OPINION: In the latest in our series of features looking back the recently concluded 2010s, we recall one of the many sagas of the 2018 Formula 2 season, which featured unusual fines and an unsavoury clash between team-mates

Jan 3, 2020
The year Leclerc fully revealed his star status Plus

The year Leclerc fully revealed his star status

In the latest feature in our series looking back on the 2010s, we revisit Charles Leclerc's sensational Formula 2 season - where he strode among on-track highs and lows, as well as tragedy away from motorsport, to earn a place on the Formula 1 grid

Dec 26, 2019
Why F1 is no longer ignoring its feeder series Plus

Why F1 is no longer ignoring its feeder series

After the MotoGP-style Formula 1 support ladder was fully united for 2019, Bruno Michel and Ross Brawn share their views on the current state of Formula 2 and FIA Formula 3 and explain why investment at junior levels should boost the top tier

Dec 13, 2019