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GP Week : Issue 99
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 he 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. GP3: Gutierrez takes inaugural title with champion's drive Runner-up Wickens hits back with copybook Sunday performance 34 GP2: No points and three crashes secure title for Maldonado GP2 veteran Pastor Maldonado secured the 2010 GP2 Series championship in Monza on Sunday, despite failing to score a point all weekend after chief title rival Sergio Perez suffered a similarly unrewarding pair of races. Maldonado went into this weekend's action with six consecutive feature race wins under his belt, but blotted his copybook with three crashes, bringing his qualifying, feature race and sprint race to premature finishes. After qualifying on pole on Friday evening, ART's Jules Bianchi lost the lead on the opening lap, as team-mate Sam Bird shot through at the start, before cruising clear at the front of the field to win at a canter by 8.5 seconds. Chaos reigned in the midfield behind the ART duo, and Sergio Perez's title hopes looked all but over when he was punted out of the race on lap 6. However, Maldonado's crash at the first chicane on lap 8, where he had crashed during qualifying, meant the title fight stayed alive until Sunday morning, but the Mexican's hopes remained monumentally slim. And sure enough, after slipping back to 22nd and last on the first lap having run wide at the Parabolica, he was never going to be able to recover the positions to take the win and fastest lap he needed. Maldonado was left celebrating in the pits with his team after definitively securing the 2010 crown, having followed Perez into the gravel at the Parabolica on the first lap, but had been unable to avoid the barrier and retired on the spot. Athe front of the field, a blistering start by Chris Vietoris saw him catapulted from fifth to first after threading the eye of a needle through his rivals on lights-out. The series concludes in Abu Dhabi in mid-November, but where all eyes will be on the teams' championship fight between Rapax and Addax. Nightmare weekend for title challengers