MONACO, RACE 1: TOP TEN FINISH AND FASTEST LAP OF THE RACE FOR COLETTIStefano Coletti and Scuderia Coloni grabbed a top ten finish in Monte Carlo Race 1, posting also the fastest lap of the race that gave the Monegasque driver two extra points.Starting from P12 after yesterday’s qualifying, Stefano had a good getaway and exited Sainte Devote in eleventh place. Coletti immediately realized that his pace was really good, but he couldn’t unleash all of his potential because he was behind Leimer and Dillman, both much slower than him.
Stefano had to wait until lap 20 before being able to push to the limit, as his rivals pitted: Coletti’s first lap on a clear track was an impressive 1’23”3, the fastest lap of the race until that moment: the local hero seemed ready for a great recovery but one lap later his plan were spoilt by Chilton, who exited his pit-stop right in front of Stefano. With no room to pass his brit rival, Coletti had no other option than following him, until lap 38 when the team called him back for the pit-stop. Despite having nearly forty laps on his rubber, Stefano’s last lap before the pit-stop was a 1’23”9, a time that was quicker than the leading pack’s pace. After the tyre change, then, Stefano made the most of his fresh Pirellis to stop the clock on a 1’22”6 that remained the fastest lap of the race. He ended the race in P10, taking a total of three points.Fabio Onidi, in the meantime, had a good but unlucky race. Starting from slot 21 the Italian driver was quick off the line and gained one place, then choosing to be cautious until lap 6, when he did his mandatory pit-stop. The early pit-stop strategy worked well because as the other drivers pitted Fabio climbed up to P18, then passing Gonzalez on track for P17. He was ready to bring his car further up in the standings when the extinguisher in his car exploded due to the vibrations caused by this particular track, forcing him to retire.Paolo Coloni: “With the pace we had today, on any other track we would have boasted a massive recovery. Unluckily Monaco is different, it gives no room at all to overtake slower cars, and so this top ten finish was the best we could do. Anyway we have to take the positives, like the fact that Stefano on the harder compound was much quicker than anybody else on the softer one. It shows that the car-driver package was working really well today, and this bodes well for tomorrow’s Sprint Race.Fabio was also driving a very good race, and he was really unlucky to have an odd failure like an extinguisher explosion. Anyway he’s doing very well, he has already found the right feeling with the track and that’s the most important thing for a rookie here in Monaco”.Stefano Coletti: “I’m really disappointed because with just a bit of luck we could have finished in P8, that would have meant pole for tomorrow, or even higher in the standings.
My car was just perfect today, I took the fastest lap but I’m sure that with another flyer on a clear track I could have been even quicker, even beating my qualifying time. Unluckily I was stuck behind slower drivers all the time, and this can really ruin your race on a track like this. It’s a bit frustrating but, we all know that Monaco can be very difficult if you’re not starting at the front. At least we know that we are really competitive and tomorrow we still have the Sprint Race to try and get a good result”.
Fabio Onidi: “Retiring due to an exploding extinguisher really leaves a bitter feeling: I was driving a good race, the car was good, everything was working properly so what happened is really unfortunate. Anyway I want to focus on the fact that I was having a good debut race in Monaco: starting from P21 wasn’t easy but I managed to avoid clashes and opted for a cautious approach until the pit-stop, even if in the first laps I was quicker than Haryanto ahead of me. Then after the tyre change I started pushing a bit more, I recovered some places when other drivers pitted and when I reached Leimer I was again quicker than him. Things were looking good, and without the issue that forced me to retire I reckon that I could have finished near the top ten”.