DAMS SCORE BEST GP3 RESULT OF SEASON AT MONZA
Tatiana Calderon scythed through to seventh place from the back of the grid to secure DAMS’ best GP3 Series result of the year at Monza, Italy (1-3 September).
The result was also a career-best for Sauber F1 Development Driver Calderon and came after a superb drive.
Brazilian Bruno Baptista also collected points with a strong 10th position, as Red Bull Junior Driver Dan Ticktum was hit out of contention whilst fighting for a top- five finish on his debut.
Focusing on race set-up, Calderon was 19th fastest in practice. However, heavy rain forced Saturday’s qualifying to be cancelled with the times set in Friday’s session determining the Feature Race grid.
Like Calderon, Baptista did not focus on single-lap pace in free practice and was 16th overall, which is where he lined up on the grid.
Taking part in his maiden GP3 Series weekend, Ticktum was quickly up to speed at Monza; the Briton 10th in practice.
Tatiana Calderon:“We were testing the car with different set-ups on Friday, so the fact that qualifying was cancelled was not ideal and the grid position wasn’t a true representation of our pace.”
Bruno Baptista:“Practice was OK. I wasn’t pushing as hard as possible so we could have been further up than we were.”
Dan Ticktum:“On Friday, I felt the pace was good and I’m very happy with the performance. It’s a shame we couldn’t get any running in qualifying as it’s likely that we would have improved even more.”
With the Sprint event cancelled, the Feature Race was moved to Sunday. Calderon started well, but had contact and pitted for repairs under the safety car. She then made great progress climbing to seventh. Frustratingly, the cancellation of the Sprint Race denied her a front-row start on the partially-reversed grid.
Baptista managed his tyres well early in the race, before making a late charge to take his second points finish of the year in 10th.
Ticktum started strongly to move up to seventh inside a lap. Whilst battling for fourth at the halfway stage, he was hit from behind and received a left-rear puncture. He dropped out of the points-paying positions and finished 13th.
Tatiana Calderon:“I was conservative at the start to save tyres and it paid off in the end. The result is great and I want to thank the team for their help this weekend, hopefully we will continue to score more points from now on.”
Bruno Baptista:“We had some really good fights throughout the race and the car was set-up nicely. It’s great to finish in the points again, but we still have areas to improve for the next one.”
Dan Ticktum:“The start went well and I did everything I could to keep my nose clean. The contact is frustrating, but that happens a lot in racing. Overall, I’m still pleased that I was fighting for fourth on my debut and everyone at DAMS was very helpful.”
François Sicard, Managing Director:“It was great to see Ticktum immediately on the pace having never driven this car before. He was very unlucky in the race, but after his pitstop he was lapping at the same pace as the leaders. He will be back with us to fight at Jerez and Abu Dhabi. We are very satisfied to see Calderon collect some points after a great comeback! She’s been showing very strong performances since Hungary and deserves this. We’re also delighted that Baptista scored his second point of the season and now the focus is on even better at the final two rounds.”
Round seven of the 2017 GP3 Series takes place at Jerez, Spain (6-8 October).