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12 September 2010
Sam powers to crushing victory at Monza
Sam's 2010 Monza GP2 Series results sheet reads: front row qualifying, feature race win, feature race fastest lap, sprint race podium and sprint race fastest lap...
The British rookie dominated the meet, notching up a total of 16 points over the course of the event, a 2010 record. In fact, he narrowly missed out on an additional two points having missed pole position by a mere 4/100ths of a second.
In the feature race Sam made a great start to beat the pole-sitter to turn one, impeccably managed two rolling restarts after incidents further down the order and then, with the track back to full racing mode, set fastest lap after fastest lap to gradually opened up a ten second lead to Jules Bianchi in the sister ART car.
He then managed his cushion in the latter stages to take the chequered flag 8.5 seconds ahead of his second-placed team-mate.
Sam's victory gives ART their first win of 2010 after multiple podiums and is their first ever win at Monza, Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Hulkenberg all having failed in previous seasons where Sam succeeded on Saturday.
In the sprint race, starting from eighth by virtue of the reversed grid, Sam made another very good start to take turn one in fifth place and wasted little time in overtaking fellow countrymen Oliver Turvey and Max Chilton for third.
From there he once again set a searing pace, several times improving on his own fastest lap, to catch up to the two men ahead of him. However, although clearly faster than both of them, and despite several overtaking attempts, Sam had to settle for third place, one second behind the winner and 1/10th of a second behind the man in second place, following some spirited defending by the latter.
"It's been a very productive weekend for me and for ART Grand Prix," said Sam. "That's good points for me and 29 points for the team, the most they've ever scored in a single GP2 weekend, so they are right back in the hunt. I am delighted for them. They gave us both a great car.
"With the pace we've had all season I always believed that this sort of weekend was achievable, and it might have come sooner had we not had so many mechanical failures. But that's in the past. The present is very satisfying and we will look to have another strong round to finish the championship in Abu Dhabi."