Dean Stoneman and DAMS gather momentum
Red Bull’s British protégé scored his second top-3 finish in three races in the Principality. This time he was on the second step of the podium after a hectic event after which DAMS has moved up to second place in the teams’ championship chase. Nyck de Vries was involved in the first corner pile-up so he was unable to make the best use of his excellent qualifying performance, which yielded fourth place on the grid. He fought his way back to tenth which he was deprived of by a penalty.
After getting to grips with the track in free practice (Nyck 8th, Dean 10th), the DAMS rookies upped their game in qualifying clinching 4th (de Vries) and 5th(Stoneman) places on the grid. But as is often the case in Monaco, collisions disrupted the race. A succession of three accidents in different places on the circuit in the first two laps led to the red flag being hung out. At that moment Stoneman was in second place just behind the pole setter, Jazeman Jaafar, after avoiding the chaos in the first corner and making the best of the situation. On the other hand, his Dutch team-mate was involved in the incident and restarted in 14th place. There were no further changes in the order after the second start apart from the comebacks of Oliver Rowland and Nyck de Vries. The overall result is pretty positive for DAMS, which has gained a place in the teams’ classification. The next round is at Spa in a week’s time.
François Sicard, Managing Director: “Overall we’ll be leaving Monaco with a smile on our faces. First of all, thanks to Dean’s top-three finish who drove an intelligent race, and clinched a remarkable second place just behind the winner. And secondly, thanks to Nyck who made a brilliant debut in Monaco with a great performance in qualifying. He was unlucky in the first corner, but with his growing confidence he’s continuing to improve. We’re going to Spa with the aim of continuing in the same vein.”
Nyck de Vries: “Even if my result is a bit disappointing I’ll take away a lot of positives from this weekend. I’m very happy with my qualifying performance; I couldn’t have done any better. In the race I made a great start and I was trying to snatch second place. I honestly don’t really understand what happened in the collision. That’s racing and I was able to fight back afterwards. Despite a penalty at the end I’m quite satisfied and I’m going to Spa in an optimistic frame of mind.”
Dean Stoneman: “I’m really delighted to be back on the podium and I’d like to thank the team who did a great job. A small error in qualifying maybe cost me a little, but I drove a good race after a great start. I managed to avoid the chaos in the first corner and then my pace was the same as Jaafar’s. But it was impossible for me to attack him. We’re continuing to progress and I’m hoping to score more big points in Belgium.”
1. J. Jaafar; 2. D. Stoneman ; 3. T. Dillmann… 11. N. de Vries
1. J. Jaafar 49 points ; 2. O. Rowland, 48 ; 3. M. Vaxivière, 37 ; 4. D. Stoneman, 33… 6. N. de Vries, 24
1. Fortec, 97 points; 2. DAMS, 57 ; 3. Lotus, 55…
Next round : Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium) 30-31 May.