The final weekend of the 2011 GP3 Series saw Marussia Manor Racing secure a top three finish in the teams’ Championship as Rio Haryanto secured a double visit to the podium at Monza and Adrian Quaife-Hobbs secured a sixth place finish to go with his Pole Position for the opening encounter.
Practice one and two saw Quaife-Hobbs showing some impressive pace as he finished second in the morning and third in the afternoon session. Both sessions saw the young Briton within 0.1s of the ultimate pace.
Qualifying Saturday morning saw Quaife-Hobbs secure his second Pole Position of the season in the dying seconds of the session, beating the time set by Nico Muller by 0.062s.
The penultimate race of the season saw Quaife-Hobbs make a good start from Pole Position and he held the lead for a number of laps, before he crashed out at Ascari on lap ten, causing a Safety Car period.
After his retirement in the opening race of the weekend, Quaife-Hobbs lined up in twenty fourth for the final race of the season. He put in a recovery drive to remember as he recovered sixth and the final point for sixth,
Looking back at the weekend, and to the future, Quaife-Hobbs said: “I really didn’t expect to finish in the points today after starting from so far back on the grid, so it was a good race – and I did it with a broken front wing as well! A good result for me and the team. I finish 4th in the Championship, which is a great result, and now I just can’t wait to get to Abu Dhabi where I will be testing the MVR-02.”
For Haryanto, he finished the qualifying session third, having been second until Quaife-Hobbs topped the times. Starting behind his team-mate for the opening race, he slipped down a position as Bottas moved ahead of the Indonesian.
He soon regained the position from Bottas before engaging in a battle for third with Muller after the Safety Car due to Quaife-Hobbs accident. He ultimately came out on top to round off the race one podium.
After his third place finish in the first race at Monza, Haryanto lined up sixth for the final race of the season. Throughout the entire race, he was fighting for a podium finish and he secured his second podium of the weekend with second place.
For Haryanto, the Monza weekend is one he won’t ever forget, as he explains: “It has been a very positive weekend for me – one I won’t forget! To be on the podium on both Saturday and Sunday is such a great result, I’m very happy with this weekend. We have worked hard this season and results like this are the reward. The team has done a very good job and I want to thank everyone for an excellent weekend.”
Matias Laine finished twentieth in qualifying, a second off Quaife-Hobbs session topping time. He finished the first race in twentieth, but his season came to a premature end in the final race as he suffered a flat tyre.
Laine said after the race: “What a shame to end the season without being able to finish the race. It’s disappointing, but I’m happy because the team has finished third in the Championship. We deserve it. We have worked hard and I want to thank the team for all their hard work – I have really learned a lot this year.”
Team Principal Pete Sliwinski is pleased with how the weekend at Monza went for the team and for the fact that Quaife-Hobbs has got the F1 test at Abu Dhabi.
He said about the weekend and the season as a whole: “What a great way to end the season! Today’s race was real racing. We had the pace during the whole weekend and it was great to watch Rio and Adrian fight so hard and perform great moves on track. This is what it’s all about! I’m very happy to have seen Rio on the podium on two occasions this weekend. The team have done an excellent job this season and it was a shame that the good results didn’t start coming earlier. We had to wait until the third race of the season for our first win, so we knew it was going to be difficult to win the Championship but we never stopped trying and at the end of the season the good results haven’t stopped coming our way. So overall I’m pleased with this season and I want to congratulate the whole team. Congratulations also to Adrian who of course wins the prize of an F1 test with Marussia Virgin Racing in Abu Dhabi.”