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K&N's Michael Lewis Wins at Monza and Claims 2011 Formula 3 Italia Rookie Championship

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Lewis gives the "thumbs up" and displays the winner's trophy as he stands on the podium celebrating his win at Monza with PREMA Powerteam's Grazia Troncon on the left.
Lewis gives the "thumbs up" and displays the winner's trophy as he stands on the podium celebrating his win at Monza with PREMA Powerteam's Grazia Troncon on the left.
We have been following 20-year-old Laguna Beach, California native Michael Lewis closely all season long as he campaigned in his inaugural year in the ACI Sport Formula 3 Italia Championship. We've had the opportunity to witness first-hand that what separates exceptionally gifted athletes, from those that win, is an extreme ability to hold their laser focus through periods of adversity. It is in essence an innate denial to accept anything but the very best of themselves at all times. Yet, the flip-side to that coin is that at first, anything less than everything, just isn't satisfactory enough.
Having won the rookie title and finishing second overall in the Formula 3 Italia Championship Lewis now looks forward to his test drive in a Ferrari Formula 1.
Having won the rookie title and finishing second overall in the Formula 3 Italia Championship Lewis now looks forward to his test drive in a Ferrari Formula 1.


"Winning the Rookie title is quite special," Lewis told K&N Race News. "But I am quite hard on myself right now, as I was unable to secure the overall championship. However, it was my mistake and that's it; I can't change the past. My team and I put in a great effort, and apart from that error, we really had a flawless season."

After earning his second win of the season during the previous round of the championship at the Mugello Circuit, which put Lewis into first for the series' rookie championship chase and second for the series' overall championship, Lewis remained completely focused with his sights set on winning both championships as he arrived in Monza for the final round of the 2011 Formula 3 Championship.

After winning on Saturday in Race 1, and locking up the Rookie of the Year title, Lewis was now in striking distance to go for the overall ACI Sport F-3 Italia Series Championship. In Race 2 Lewis had the lead in his PREMA Powerteam car, but when he entered a chicane he accidentally hit the birm with the right rear wheel, which damaged the suspension. He was unaware at that point that he had a problem, so when braking for the next chicane he only had three wheels on the ground, and the car didn't turn as expected. Lewis went off into the gravel, ending his day and his chance to win the overall series championship.
K&N sponsored Michael celebrates his third win of the Formula 3 Italia season at Monza.
K&N sponsored Michael celebrates his third win of the Formula 3 Italia season at Monza.


"Race 2 started out amazing. I was on the grid in P8 because of the top 8 invert from qualifying. I then got an amazing start, and I was in P4 by the second corner. By the second lap I was in P3. By lap-5 I was in P2. Then on lap-6, my teammate was very kind and let me pass with ease. (It was because he wanted me to win the overall championship as much as possible, because if I did, then he would have been the second driver to test the Ferrari F60 F1 car). In any case, I was leading with a one second margin over the second place car and I then crashed with two laps remaining, as I took a curb and broke the rear suspension."
Lewis not only won the first race at Monza, he also set fast time in practice, qualified first, and set the fastest time of the race.
Lewis not only won the first race at Monza, he also set fast time in practice, qualified first, and set the fastest time of the race.


After the race Angelo Rosin, PREMA Powerteam team principal commented. "This is a great result for both the driver and the team. Michael once again demonstrated his skill and potential. In this past year he has grown as a man and a driver, and we are really proud of him today."

In summary Lewis ended the 2011 Formula 3 Italia season finishing second in the Series Championship, only 13 points behind series champion, Sergio Campana and with the 2011 F-3 Rookie Championship. In the race at Monza he was first in practice, started from the pole in qualifying. He then started Race 1 from the pole, set the fastest lap and led all laps. In Race 2 he once more secured the fastest lap, and he was leading until tweaking his suspension. "Basically I scored every point possible except the race 2 victory," added Lewis.

Clinching the ROY title earned Lewis a test drive in a Ferrari Formula 1, which is perhaps an introduction for a move in that direction in the near future. "It honestly is so amazing. I get to drive an F1 car. Just to say that brings chills up my spine. Honestly, it hasn't hit me yet. I definitely will try everything to make it to Formula 1, and this is a start!"

Lewis returned home this week where we suspect his perspective and level of approval for what he accomplished this year will be more fully released. "Basically, I will train in California, also take a midterm from my college, and then head back to Italy in the first week of November."

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K&N Engineering in Riverside California is the world's leading manufacturer of washable performance air filters and air intake systems. K&N invented the reusable high flow cotton air filter in 1969 and has been perfecting the technology ever since. K&N is a world class filtration company selling air filters, oil filters, and intakes in over 30 countries. K&N sells over 5,000 products designed for cars, trucks, motorcycles, engines, and industrial applications. From their Million Mile Warranty to their Consumer Protection Pledge, K&N stands behind their products and their consumers 100%. The distinctive K&N logo represents performance from one of the original performance companies. For more information, visit knfilters.com.