Italians victory halts Pineiros charge for second in championship
Mirko Bortolotti has taken the FIA Formula Two Championship win record with victory in the final race of the season at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona today (Sunday). His seventh victory in 2011 matches Andy Soucek’s record from 2009, the year Bortolotti took his first of what has now become eight wins.
Spaniard Ramon Pinero finished just behind the Italian during the final race of the season but narrowly missed out on second place in the championship by just four points to Swiss driver Christopher Zanella who finished seventh.
Romanian Mihai Marinescu secured his fourth podium from the last six races with third spot, just ahead of local driver Miki Monras who ended his debut F2 season fourth overall.
As the 22-lap race got underway, Pineiro made a superb start from second on the grid and looked to take the lead of the race as he held the inside line into Turn 1. However, 21-year-old Bortolotti drove around the outside of the 20-year-old to take the lead into the left-hander at Turn 2. The move was decisive to Bortolotti’s race and he set about breaking his opponent’s resolve in a similar manner to yesterday’s race.
Meanwhile Pineiro was aware of an early challenge from Marinescu, who had stolen third place from Monras, but the Romanian was to progress no further up the field as the race settled down after a frantic first lap that saw Tobias Hegewald spin down the order.
As Bortolotti pulled out several tenths on each lap, Pineiro kept up the pace to secure his second place. Behind Marinescu and Monras, Alex Brundle, Kelvin Snoeks and Christopher Zanella enjoyed a race-long tussle for fifth place.
Danish driver Mikkel Mac impressed once again by working his way past Jack Clarke for eighth place, before Benjamin Lariche put the Englishman under intense pressure for the remainder of the race. However, he was also aware of a charging Hegewald, who had worked his way up the order and nearly challenged for the final points position as the race drew to a conclusion.
On taking his seventh win of the season, Bortolotti slowed as he crossed the finish line to show his appreciation to his F2 engineers and rounding off his dominant season in fine style.
Speaking afterwards Bortolotti said: "I knew it [the race] was going to be decided on the start but my start was very bad. I’m disappointed about that, but I managed to brake really late into Turn 1 and pass Ramon on the outside, which is not easy. That was the key for this win as once you get your position, it’s difficult for the guy behind to get a run to overtake you, so I knew it was going to be very important to be first at the end of the first lap. I wanted to win this race because I wanted to make it eight Formula Two wins. I’m very proud about this and winning the last two races in Formula Two is fantastic and that’s my way to say goodbye to all these people I had the pleasure to work with these two seasons, so I’m delighted and I’m very happy."
Mirko Bortolotti will now prepare for his Williams F1 test in Abu Dhabi in just over two weeks time while Christopher Zanella and Ramon Pineiro will each enjoy a GP2 test. All three drivers will also receive an FIA Superlicence needed to compete in Formula One.
Barcelona, Race two result:
1. Mirko Bortolotti, 22 Laps
2. Ramon Pineiro, +8.073s
3. Mihai Marinescu, +11.782s
4. Miki Monras, +13.008s
5. Alex Brundle, +25.133s
6. Kelvin Snoeks, +25.977s
7. Christopher Zanella, +27.201s
8. Mikkel Mac, +28.002s
9. Jack Clarke, +39.918s
10. Benjamin Lariche, +39.698s
2011 FIA Formula Two Championship – Final driver standings (inc dropped scores):
1. Mirko Bortolotti, 298
2. Christopher Zanella, 189
3. Ramon Pineiro, 185
4. Miki Monras, 153
5. Mihai Marinescu, 138
6. Tobias Hegewald, 121
7. Alex Brundle, 112
8. Jack Clarke, 110
9. Will Bratt, 92
10. Kelvin Snoeks.
For more information on the series click onto www.formulatwo.com