DAMS END 2017 F2 CAMPAIGN WITH ANOTHER PODIUM IN ABU DHABI
DAMS closed out the 2017 FIA Formula 2 Championship with their 19th podium of the season, in what was a mixed finale for the French team at the Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi.
Nicholas Latifi capped off a strong campaign with third in the Sprint Race, as fellow Renault Sport F1 Development Driver Oliver Rowland had his Feature Race victory stripped off him after a technical infringement.
DAMS finish the season third in the Teams’ Championship, with Rowland third and Latifi fifth in the final drivers’ standings.
Free Practice and Qualifying
After going sixth fastest in practice, DAMS opted to send Rowland out during the mid-session lull in qualifying, with the British driver slotting into fourth place.
Off the back of another podium in Jerez, Latifi had a quiet start to the F2 finale, going 15th in the morning session, before improving to 12th in qualifying.
Oliver Rowland: “It was obvious that the pace was quite good on Friday, but I wasn’t able to put together the perfect lap in either session.”
Nicholas Latifi: “We could’ve been around the top five in qualifying, but I made a mistake on my second set of tyres and lost a lot of time, which was always going to make it more difficult in the Feature Race.”
Feature and Sprint Races
Rowland stormed through to first after switching to the longer-lasting soft compound tyres in the opening race. He dominated thereon in to take victory, but was disqualified after the car’s skid plank as found to have excessive wear. The Yorkshireman produced an epic drive from the back of the grid to finish seventh in the Sprint Race.
Latifi also showed strong pace on the soft compound tyres later in the Feature Race, as he fought through to finish seventh - which turned into fifth after penalties were applied. The Canadian impressed during the Sprint event, as he scored his ninth podium of the season with third.
Oliver Rowland: “Overall, it was actually a really positive weekend. Obviously the penalty in the first race was difficult to take, but it was great to fight my way through the pack in the Sprint and show our pace. I want to thank François [Sicard] and everyone at DAMS for an amazing season.”
Nicholas Latifi: “I struggled with tyre management earlier in the Feature Race, but in the end we came on stronger. I had a really good start on Sunday and wanted to get the win for the team after Saturday’s disappointment, but we didn’t quite have the pace. Still, it’s great to finish the season with another podium.”
François Sicard, Managing Director: “It wasn’t the last round we were expecting. It’s a shame as everyone performed well and this small issue cost us the teams’ title. Nicholas had a very strong weekend and we are very pleased with his performance. The fact that 143 points separate DAMS and fourth in the championship, shows the level of the top three teams and it’s been a great battle all season. Preparations for the 2018 season begin at the test on Thursday, so that’s what we’re focusing on to give us the best chance of challenging for next year’s titles.”
DAMS will remain at the Yas Marina Circuit to participate in the official post-season FIA Formula 2 test (30 November – 2 December).
2017 FIA Formula 2 Championship drivers' standing:
1 Charles Leclerc, PREMA, 282 pts
2 Artem Markelov, RUSSIAN TIME, 210 pts
3 Oliver Rowland, DAMS, 191 pts
4 Luca Ghiotto, RUSSIAN TIME, 185 pts
5 Nicholas Latifi, DAMS, 178 pts
1 RUSSIAN TIME, 395 pts
2 PREMA, 380 pts
3 DAMS, 369 pts
GP3 podium in Abu Dhabi
DAMS concluded their 2017 GP3 Series campaign with a podium for Dan Ticktum at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
The Red Bull junior driver scored two strong points finishes, with a fourth in the Feature Race, before a season-best third in the Sprint event, after fighting his way from fifth on the grid.
Brazilian Bruno Baptista secured his third points finish of the season, whilst Sauber F1 Development Driver Tatiana Calderon was unable to add to her tally.
Free Practice & Qualifying
Fresh back from his victory at the Macau Grand Prix, Ticktum was on the pace immediately, recording a fourth place in free practice, before repeating that feat in qualifying.
Baptista started his weekend with 16th place in the opening session, ahead of qualifying in 17th position for the Feature Race.
Colombian driver Calderon - who scored a podium in her World Series Formula V8 3.5 debut in Bahrain last weekend – was 20th in practice, before improving to 13th in qualifying.
Dan Ticktum: “I made a small mistake in qualifying that ultimately didn’t cost us that much, but second or third was definitely possible, which might have given us a slightly better chance at the start.“
Bruno Baptista: “In practice we worked towards the race, but I had some small problems in qualifying, and made a couple of mistakes, meaning we didn’t reach our potential.”
Tatiana Calderon: “Free practice was difficult only completing a few laps due to a braking problem, putting us on the back foot for qualifying. With no issues, a top six position looked possible which was positive.”
Feature and Sprint Races
Ticktum stormed home to a strong fourth place in the Feature Race, matching the leaders pace consistently. Starting fifth in the Sprint Race, the Englishman made two audacious overtaking moves on the back straight to claim his maiden series podium.
Starting from 17th in race one, Baptista made a good start, before coming home in a strong tenth position to gain a point. In Sunday’s race, the Brazilian improved from his grid-slot, but a penalty dropped him to eleventh from his seventh-place finish.
Contact in the first race forced Calderon to pit for a replacement front wing, before running at a pace on par with the leaders. In the Sprint Race, the Colombian made a slow getaway, but climbed back up to 15th position by the chequered flag.
Dan Ticktum: “I had to fight for position in the early stages of race one and then lost time under the virtual safety car, which I can put down to inexperience. In race two we should have been second, but the penalty cost us. Overall, the weekend was a good way to finish for DAMS, but we could have got more from it.”
Bruno Baptista: “I think the weekend went really well, I made some good overtakes in both races and the points finish was really great.”
Tatiana Calderon: “It was a frustrating weekend in which we showed really good pace. The team deserve better after doing a great job, so it’s unfortunate to end the season like this.”
François Sicard, Managing Director: “We finished the year strongly, despite the results. Ticktum fought for pole position until the last lap, but made a small mistake. He did a strong first race and could have been higher than fourth. Third in the Sprint despite the penalty is very good. Since joining, Dan has done a great job and we appreciate his hard work. Tatiana was unlucky, she was just two-tenths away from the top six without much running in qualifying. We have enjoyed working with her this year and wish her luck for the future. It was a shame that Bruno got a five-second penalty in the sprint race, but this was his best performance with us and it’s a nice way to go our separate ways.”