Stoffel Vandoorne has picked up his fourth Feature Race win in succession after holding off Alexander Rossi at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Julian Leal crossed the finish line in third, however, he incurred a 10 second time penalty for an unsafe release during his pit stop, which elevated MP Motorsport’s Sergio Canamasas to the final podium position.

The race was cut two laps short after an aborted start which was caused by Nobuharu Matsushita’s stalled ART. This caused a chain reaction as Richie Stanaway, Andre Negrão, Norman Nato and Artem Markelov all subsequently stalled as their cars overheated waiting to pass Matsushita.

A second formation lap was completed however the empty grid slots of the absent stalling cars confused drivers, with some lining up in the wrong position. The race was delayed and the drivers that stalled were given a second chance to take to the grid rather than the pit lane.

Pierre Gasly was to blame for the chaos at the start according to the Stewards, as he jumped the aborted start too quickly. He was forced to start the race from pit lane.

Monaco podium

Podium (L to R) Alexander Rossi – Racing Engineering, Stoffel Vandoorne – ART Grand Prix, Sergio Canamasas – MP Motorsport


Once the race finally got underway, Raffaele Marciello enjoyed a blistering start from second on the grid to pass pole-sitter Rossi into the first corner. Marciello, enjoying starting on the super soft tyre compound, took a three second lead by the end of the first lap. Another beneficiary from starting on super softs was Jordan King, who catapulted from eighth to fifth on the opening lap.

However the advantage wasn’t to last as the super soft tyres began to degrade quite quickly, and by lap seven, most of the super soft starters made for the pits to make their compulsory pit stop.

Marciello waited a lap later and pitted on the eighth lap while Pic pitted on lap 10 and was able to pass Marciello in the pits.

Matsushita was the first retirement of the race, attempting to pass Daniel de Jong at the Turn 11 chicane, only to lock up and slide straight into the MP Motorsport driver. He was soon joined by Marco Sorensen as Nato went too deep into the hairpin and nudged Sorensen into the wall. The Arden driver was handed a 10-second time penalty for the incident.

The carnage wasn’t over just yet as a few laps later Mitch Evans attempted to pass Nick Yelloly in the Hilmer at the chicane. Yelloly didn’t see Evans and turned in causing them to collide and deploy the first virtual safety car.

With the virtual safety car in effect, the two leaders Rossi and Vandoorne took the opportunity to make their compulsory pit stops and put on a pair of super softs, as both drivers started the race on the soft compound tyre.

The ART crew had a brilliant pit stop which helped Vandoorne narrowly pass Rossi in the pit lane for the lead of the race.

Vandoorne quickly pulled away from Rossi once the track conditions returned to green, although Rossi was able to close the gap to within half a second.

On lap 26 the second virtual safety car was brought out, this time it was to let the marshals clear debris left on track by Nathaniel Berthon’s front wing.

The last few laps saw Rossi’s tyres degrade quickly, as he used them up trying to close the gap he lost to Vandoorne. Canamasas made a brilliant pass into Turn One on Arthur Pic to take fourth position, which eventually turned into third after Leal’s penalty.

Nick Yelloly, who finished 10th, scored the two points for getting the fastest lap of the race.

Provisional Classification (40 laps):

Stoffel Vandoorne
ART Grand Prix
Alexander Rossi
Racing Engineering
Sergio Canamasas
MP Motorsport
Arthur Pic
Campos Racing
Sergey Sirotkin
Julian Leal
Richie Stanaway
Status Grand Prix
Raffaele Marciello
Jordan King
Racing Engineering
Nick Yelloly
Hilmer Motorsport
Rene Binder
Daniel De Jong
MP Motorsport
Alex Lynn
Pierre Gasly
Robert Visoiu
Rio Haryanto
Campos Racing
Nathanaël Berthon
Norman Nato
Arden International
Marlon Stockinger
Status Grand Prix
Johnny Cecotto
Hilmer Motorsport
André Negrao
Arden International
Zoel Amberg

Not classified: 

Mitch Evans
Artem Markelov
Marco Sorensen
Nobuharu Matsushita
ART Grand Prix

Images via GP2 Series Media

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Josh Kruse

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