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Monaco GP2: Sam Bird wins in Monte Carlo again

Sam Bird wins Monaco GP2 race 2013Sam Bird won round seven of the GP2 Series in Monaco, his second victory of the season with the new-for-2013 Russian Time team - but required a new rear wing to do so having been savaged in the chaotic initial start.

The race was marred by a first-corner pile-up that involved 15 cars and took out polesitter Johnny Cecotto Jr (who sparked the chaos himself) as well as frontrunners Fabio Leimer, Jolyon Palmer, Robin Frijns, Marcus Ericsson and Alexander Rossi.

The event was red-flagged with nine of those cars unable to restart.

NEWS UPDATE: Cecotto suspended for rest of Monaco event

The restart took place under the safety car, with Mitch Evans up front in his Arden entry. Bird, in his repaired car after taking a big hit from Kevin Ceccon at the first start, was right on Evans's case from the green flag on lap two.

Evans had switched to the super-soft tyre during the red flag, and it was clearly a struggle to keep Bird, on the softs, at bay.

Evans did so, however, keeping the Briton behind him before pitting on lap 13. His strategy meant he had to change all four tyres to the soft compound, whereas when Bird pitted four laps later he only had to change his soft rears.

Evans's slower stop meant that Ceccon, who had a new front wing fitted during the red flag, managed to jump him after opting for an early pitstop.

But with Rene Binder taking a long first stint running second on the road, Ceccon was never able to glimpse a view of Bird, who scampered away to win by 22s as he added a GP2 Monaco win to last year's Formula Renault 3.5 triumph in Monte Carlo.

Monaco GP2 crashBird's only scare came when he clipped the kerb exiting Portier soon after his stop, his car fishtailing perilously closely to the Armco.

Ceccon came under pressure for second from Evans in the closing stages, but pulled away as Evans needed to keep an eye on Felipe Nasr, who had detached himself from a fight with James Calado.

Nasr had one eye on the points race, however, closing the gap to leader Stefano Coletti to 15 with his fourth place.

Coletti finished sixth, ahead of Binder (a fine run after restarting 15th), while Adrian Quaife-Hobbs pulled off a last-lap move on Stephane Richelmi to grab reversed-grid pole position for Saturday's sprint race.

Results - 42 laps (inc red flag delay):

Pos  Driver               Team                    Time/Gap
 1.  Sam Bird             Russian Time        1h36m15.919s
 2.  Kevin Ceccon         Trident                + 22.077s
 3.  Mitch Evans          Arden                  + 23.225s
 4.  Felipe Nasr          Carlin                 + 23.416s
 5.  James Calado         ART                    + 29.588s
 6.  Stefano Coletti      Rapax                + 1m00.519s
 7.  Rene Binder          Lazarus              + 1m02.449s
 8.  Adrian Quaife-Hobbs  MP                   + 1m08.400s
 9.  Stephane Richelmi    DAMS                 + 1m12.107s
10.  Daniel de Jong       MP                   + 1m22.410s
11.  Tom Dillmann         Russian Time         + 1m29.356s
12.  Jon Lancaster        Hilmer                   + 1 lap
13.  Simon Trummer        Rapax                    + 1 lap
14.  Jake Rosenzweig      Addax                    + 1 lap
15.  Sergio Canamasas     Caterham                + 2 laps
16.  Daniel Abt           ART                     + 2 laps

Retirements:

     Rio Haryanto         Addax                    26 laps
     Johnny Cecotto Jr    Arden                    0 laps*
     Fabio Leimer         Racing Engineering       0 laps*
     Jolyon Palmer        Carlin                   0 laps*
     Julian Leal          Racing Engineering       0 laps*
     Robin Frijns         Hilmer                   0 laps*
     Marcus Ericsson      DAMS                     0 laps*
     Alexander Rossi      Caterham                 0 laps*
     Nathanael Berthon    Trident                  0 laps*
     Kevin Giovesi        Lazarus                  0 laps*

* Did not take restart
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