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Michael Lewis Earns His Second Victory in the 2011 Formula 3 Italia Championship

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Michael Lewis' win at Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello was his second in the 2011 Formula 3 Italia Championship.
Michael Lewis' win at Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello was his second in the 2011 Formula 3 Italia Championship.
To win a race, a Rookie of the Year honor, perhaps even a championship, entails more than just extraordinary driving prowess, it requires unwavering focus in the face of boundless distractions. Championships aren't won simply on the track, one race at a time, they are earned by those best equipped to deal with the demands presented by the space between races.
Lewis overcame a frenzied start, then patiently and consistently moved forward and on lap 15 he took the lead, holding on for the victory.
Lewis overcame a frenzied start, then patiently and consistently moved forward and on lap 15 he took the lead, holding on for the victory.


How does Laguna Beach, California's Michael Lewis deal with his roller-coaster rookie year in the Formula 3 Italia Championship? "By trying as hard as possible to stick with my plan for each racing event," Lewis explained to K&N Race News. "This plan includes my physical training program, car and driver preparation, and so on. As long as I stay as close to my plan as possible, the results will, well, result."

The results in Round 13 of the Italia Champion couldn't have resulted any better for Lewis, as he won his second race of the series at Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello in Mugello, Italy. He qualified third fastest and started the race on the inside of the second row. Lewis survived the "wild start," and held onto third, then steadily progressed forward as the laps rolled by. On lap 15 Lewis made his move on the inside of the leader, Edoardo Liberati. The K&N sponsored driver then managed his lead wisely, holding off Liberati and taking the checkered flag.
Engineer Fabio Zilio made a front bar adjust to correct for over-steer, helping to preserve the tires, and allowing Lewis to drive to victory.
Engineer Fabio Zilio made a front bar adjust to correct for over-steer, helping to preserve the tires, and allowing Lewis to drive to victory.


"Basically, my start off the line was not the best," said Lewis. "My revs dropped quite hard when I put it in second gear, and because I had wheel spin, this was problematic. Then, entering turn-one I was literally four-wide with my teammate and two other drivers. I braked as late as possible from the inside, as to clear the other three cars, and then once I was in third after turn-one, everything was okay."
The win for the American keeps Lewis in the lead for the ROY title and only 19 points behind the overall championship leader.
The win for the American keeps Lewis in the lead for the ROY title and only 19 points behind the overall championship leader.


Lewis credited the car's setup as part of the reason he was able to preserve his tires for the race victory. "I spoke with my engineer Fabio Zilio and we made one little change to the car before the start of the race," explained Lewis. "The tires were amazing during the whole race and I didn't have any problems. Thank you to the entire PREMA Powerteam, to Fabio Zilio, Angelo Rosin, and Giacomo Ricci for this victory. I also want to thank Eibach Springs and K&N Air Filters for helping me."

"It was a small change that any driver/team would make to adjust the balance of the car," continued Lewis. "The setup is massively different from car to car, but if you want a bit more over-steer or under-steer, this can be achieved by making a front-bar change for example. In my case, since I felt a bit too much over-steer (when releasing the brakes and squeezing throttle) on my warm-up lap before heading to the grid, my engineer suggested stiffening the front bar. This change gave the car slightly more under-steer at the apex of the corner. Thus, my over-steer was reduced to a manageable amount."

With the win Lewis now sits five points ahead of teammate, Raffaele Marciello, for the Formula 3 Italia Rookie of the Year chase, and we wondered how that affected the team dynamics. "We are both competing against each other, so there is a bit of a rivalry there," remarked Lewis. "However, we still are working together to improve our cars, so the overall atmosphere is quite friendly and professional."

In race two at Mugello, Lewis got an amazing start. "Since I started sixth, I was immediately involved in traffic from the first two rows of cars," said Lewis. "I then had to lift to avoid contact, and I got shuffled back to seventh position after the first corner. Again, I felt I had an amazingly fast car with great tire degradation; so I started to push when it was the proper time. I passed for sixth, then my teammate went off track momentarily, so then I was in fifth. I closed massively on the second, third, and fourth place drivers. I was fighting quite hard in the remaining few laps, but I was unable to get by the drivers ahead, as everyone was closing pretty hard. In the end it wasn't a bad race."

After a solid two race performance at Mugello, Lewis made up considerable ground on Formula 3 Italia Championship Series leader Sergio Campana. Lewis is now ranked second in the 2011 Formula 3 Italia Series Championship, only 19 points behind, and continues to lead the Rookie Championship. The final two races of the 2011 Formula 3 Italia Championship will take place on October 15 and 16, at Monza.

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