Luca Ghiotto has been stripped of victory in the Formula 2 Feature Race at Monza after being handed a five-second time penalty.

The punishment to the RUSSIAN TIME driver instead hands a maiden Formula 2 victory to his Italian compatriot Antonio Fuoco (PREMA Racing), with pole-sitter Nobuhara Matsushita (ART grand Prix) elevated to second and Nicholas Latifi (DAMS) now completing the updated podium.

Ghiotto (pictured top) had worked his way up to the lead on the final lap of the rain-affected race and was battling Nyck de Vries and championship leader Charles Leclerc for victory.

The Italian, however, slid up the escape road at the Rettifilo chicane trying to fend off de Vries, who was himself subsequently eliminated from the race when he tangled with Leclerc at the next corner, the Curva Grande.

Despite his rivals being removed from contention, the FIA Stewards ruled that Ghiotto had “gained an advantage after exceeding track limits” for his failure to either reduce his speed or potentially redress to de Vries. Critically, Ghiotto posted the fastest lap of the race on that very lap, which was a nail in his proverbial coffin.

The penalty dropped Ghiotto to fourth overall in the final standings, denying him his second race victory of his GP2 / Formula 2 career.

De Vries was himself handed a drive-through penalty for causing the collision with Leclerc, which the Stewards applied as a 20-second post-race time penalty. The Racing Engineering driver picked up a puncture in the last-lap contact and had fallen to eighteenth as he limped around the final tour.

The Stewards also handed down a penalty to Matsushita’s teammate Alexander Albon, with an additional 10 seconds added to the Thai driver’s finishing time for causing a collision with Arden International driver Norman Nato on the chaotic final lap. The punishment dropped Albon from a provisional fifth overall to fourteenth, with Nato’s teammate Sean Gelael inheriting the place.

Belgium Sprint Race winner Sergio Sette Câmara (MP Motorsport) was promoted to sixth, ahead of Louis Delétraz (Rapax) and Gustav Malja (Racing Engineering). Malja’s eighth-placed finish means he will now start Sunday’s reversed-grid Sprint Race from pole position.

Despite the shake-up of the Feature Race’s results and his last-lap collision, Leclerc’s lead in the Drivers’ Championship standings remains at 59 points thanks to the retirement of his nearest title rival Oliver Rowland. The DAMS driver was forced to stop when his left-rear wheel fell off shortly after taking his compulsory pit stop.

Image via FIA Formula 2 Championship

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Geoff Burke

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