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Race report
FIA F2 Monaco

F2 Monaco: Inspired strategy, VSC gifts O'Sullivan surprise feature victory

Williams junior Zak O’Sullivan delivered a shock maiden Formula 2 win in the Monaco feature race as a late virtual safety car stole victory from Isack Hadjar.

Isack Hadjar, Campos Racing, Zak O’Sullivan, ART Grand Prix, Paul Aron, Hitech Pulse-Eight

O’Sullivan vaulted up the order having started from 15th on the grid after a late incident involving Zane Maloney and Joshua Durksen flipped the script.

Campos driver Hadjar had been on course for victory and controlling proceedings once poleman Richard Verschoor (Trident) suddenly slowed and eventually retired, but he was left furious and reluctant to speak after seeing O’Sullivan's ART Grand Prix machine emerge from the pits ahead.

Knowing that the only chance of points on Sunday was a late safety car intervention or similar, ART had left the Briton out until lap 40 of 42 on the soft tyres, and this gamble was dramatically rewarded as O'Sullivan became the season's eighth different winner.

Despite Hadjar’s fury, the Red Bull junior moves to second in the championship, with third-placed Paul Aron (Hitech) now hitting the summit as a result of Maloney ultimately finishing tenth.

The start of an F2 feature race is more often than not a more tranquil affair than the sprint outing, with drivers safe in the knowledge that pit strategy and safety cars could elevate them up the order.

This was largely in evidence on Sunday, aside from a moment of minor contact between Jak Crawford (DAMS) and Invicta driver Kush Maini at the Grand Hotel hairpin which put the American out.

The start had also provided the latest nightmare in a difficult season for Alpine-backed Victor Martins. Having topped his qualifying group to line up second on the grid, the ART driver bogged down and dropped like a stone to P15 within moments of the lights going out.

But the real drama came in lap 19 when Verschoor reported an ultimately race-ending problem while leading the race. The issue appeared to be limiting the Dutchman's power output and, although able to retain his position until the pit stops, he was swamped by Hadjar, Aron and the rest of the field shortly after returning to the track.

Isack Hadjar, Campos Racing,

Isack Hadjar, Campos Racing,

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Having hopped the Nouvelle Chicane his defence against Aron, Verschoor was handed a five-second penalty, which he served before completing a final tour and pitting to retire.

A further post-race investigation was announced after he removed the steering wheel and threw it from the car before coming to a stop in the pits.

Also in the pitstop phase, Prema pairing Andrea Kimi Antonelli and Oliver Bearman provided some close-quarters action, running wheel-to-wheel after the former returned to the track. Ultimately, Bearman sealed the position with a cutback manoeuvre at the Grand Hotel hairpin.

Having followed Franco Colapinto for some time, Antonelli was again at the centre of the action on lap 37, when he launched a bold move on the MP Motorsport driver into Antony Noghes to climb into then eighth place.

But by the time Juan Manuel Correa (DAMS) and Dennis Hauger (MP) had made their stops, Antonelli had to settle for seventh ahead of Gabriel Bortoleto (Invicta) and the recovering Martins.

Then came the twist in the tale on lap 40, when O’Sullivan on the alternate strategy was gifted a free stop as Maloney and Durksen came together as the latter returned to the track from his own stop.

Having entered the pits before the VSC was called, O’Sullivan’s stop was deemed legal and allowed the ART driver to steal victory from Hadjar in the most dramatic of circumstances.

F2 Monaco Feature Race Result

Cla Driver # Laps Time Interval km/h Pits Points Retirement Bonus
1 United Kingdom Z. O'Sullivan ART Grand Prix 2 42


2 France I. Hadjar Campos Racing 20 42



0.500     18    
P. Aron Hitech Pulse-Eight
17 42



7.500     15    
4 United Kingdom O. Bearman Prema Powerteam 3 42



1.100     12    
5 United States J. Correa DAMS Lucas Oil 8 42



0.400     10    
6 Norway D. Hauger MP Motorsport 11 42



0.400     8   1
7 Italy A. Antonelli Prema Powerteam 4 42



7.600     6    
G. Bortoleto Invicta Racing
10 42



0.300     4    
9 France V. Martins ART Grand Prix 1 42



0.200     2    
10 Barbados Z. Maloney Rodin Motorsport 5 42



8.500     1    
T. Barnard PHM AIX Racing
25 42



12 Brazil E. Fittipaldi Van Amersfoort Racing 14 42



13 Argentina F. Colapinto MP Motorsport 12 42



P. Martí Campos Racing
21 42



15 Japan R. Miyata Rodin Motorsport 6 42



16 Czech Republic R. Staněk Trident 23 42



17 India K. Maini Invicta Racing 9 42



J. Duerksen PHM AIX Racing
24 39

3 laps

dnf Netherlands R. Verschoor Trident 22 28

14 laps

        Retirement 2
dnf Mexico R. Villagomez Van Amersfoort Racing 15 18

24 laps

dnf Belgium A. Cordeel Hitech Pulse-Eight 16 6

36 laps

dnf United States J. Crawford DAMS Lucas Oil 7 41



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