• GP3 Series

Gutierrez takes inaugural GP3 title

GP Week
September 12, 2010 « Whitmarsh defends Hamilton's mistake | »
Esteban Gutierrez celebrates winning the GP3 title with Peter Sauber © Sutton Images

Mexico's Esteban Gutierrez produced the drive of a champion to secure the inaugural GP3 series crown after beating title rival Robert Wickens in a fascinating duel.

Pole position on Saturday morning meant Gutierrez had put the title beyond the reach of the Canadian, but it didn't stop him driving out of his skin in that evening's race.

Although he kept the lead on the first lap, he struggled to keep the place and by lap five he had dropped back to fifth. He soon got to grips with the slipstreaming effect on Monza's long straights though and six laps later was right on the tail of leader Wickens who had fought his way up from fifth on the grid, before taking the lead with a daring overtaking manoeuvre into the first chicane at the start of lap 13.

Although Wickens was able to keep him within a second over the remaining laps, he was never close enough to challenge and the pair crossed the line in championship order.

The tables turned on Sunday morning though and, from a reverse grid seventh, Wickens took the lead before the second chicane, after forcing his way passed Merhi out the first chicane. He was never headed thereafter and looked completely in control before taking the chequered flag 1.6 seconds clear. Gutierrez was unable to make a repeat performance after spinning to a stop on the opening lap while trying to avoid contact, a relatively minor blip in an otherwise impressive weekend and season overall.

Gutierrez therefore takes the 2010 crown with 88 points, five wins and nine podium finishes to Wickens' 71 points, three wins and seven podium finishes. Nico Müller takes third on 53 points.