GP2 Monaco: Artem Markelov takes shock victory

Artem Markelov stole an unlikely victory away from Norman Nato at the very end of a dramatic GP2 feature race in Monaco

GP2 Monaco: Artem Markelov takes shock victory

The Russian Time driver started the race from 15th on the grid, but stayed out longer than anybody else on his soft tyres and was remarkably lapping quicker than the rest of the field.

The latter part of the race was littered with five virtual safety car periods, and after the last of these, Markelov pitted and rejoined right in front of Nato with just two laps remaining.

He kept Nato at bay to claim a shock first win in the series, and beat the Frenchman into the championship lead.

Having taken the lead at the start from polesitter Sergey Sirotkin, Nato led most of the race but would be denied a second straight feature race triumph after seeming to lose a significant amount of time during the final virtual safety car period.

Just as in Barcelona, Sirotkin made a race-ending error while in pursuit of Nato, losing control of his ART Grand Prix-run car exiting the Swimming Pool section and crashing into the barriers on the outside.

That will leave the Russian likely to start from the back row of the grid for Saturday's sprint race, and with a tough task to score his first points of the season.

Oliver Rowland claimed his maiden GP2 podium with an attacking drive reminiscent of his Formula Renault 3.5 performance in Monaco in 2015.

Having spent some time bottled up behind a slower Mitch Evans - who cut the chicane at one stage to resist an attack from the Briton - Rowland was then released at the first VSC restart and gained further places when Sirotkin crashed and Jordan King also came to grief when running second behind Racing Enginering team-mate Nato.

Rowland was all over Nato after the former leader suffered a slow pitstop, but was unable to find a way past.

Alex Lynn gained crucial points for the title race in fourth despite being forced into an early pitstop when he suspected he picked up a puncture.

Evans was fifth after serving a five-second penalty at his stop for gaining an advantage when he skipped the chicane in front of Rowland.

Antonio Giovinazzi jumped to sixth with a better start on the super-soft tyres than Lynn, but he would wind up seventh behind fellow Italian Raffaele Marciello by the end.

Carlin rookie Marvin Kirchhofer took eighth and reverse-grid pole for the sprint race ahead of Nobuharu Matushita and Daniel De Jong.

The first of the virtual safety car periods was required to clear debris after Pierre Gasly ran into the back of Jimmy Eriksson at the swimming pool.

The Red Bull junior and erstwhile championship leader had started from the pit lane after being excluded from qualifying for missing the weighbridge, and finished 15th.

FEATURE RACE RESULT

Pos Driver Team Laps Gap
1 Artem Markelov RUSSIAN TIME 40 1h01m27.183s
2 Norman Nato Racing Engineering 40 1.541s
3 Oliver Rowland MP Motorsport 40 3.187s
4 Alex Lynn DAMS 40 8.239s
5 Mitch Evans Pertamina Campos Racing 40 11.723s
6 Raffaele Marciello RUSSIAN TIME 40 15.025s
7 Marvin Kirchhofer Carlin 40 21.153s
8 Nobuharu Matsushita ART Grand Prix 40 21.582s
9 Daniel de Jong MP Motorsport 40 22.343s
10 Arthur Pic Rapax 40 23.333s
11 Antonio Giovinazzi Prema Racing 40 25.037s
12 Sergio Canamasas Carlin 40 30.192s
13 Sean Gelael Pertamina Campos Racing 40 31.295s
14 Gustav Malja Rapax 40 34.900s
15 Pierre Gasly Prema Racing 40 49.748s
16 Philo Paz Armand Trident 39 1 Lap
- Luca Ghiotto Trident 35 Retirement
- Jimmy Eriksson Arden International 32 Retirement
- Jordan King Racing Engineering 27 Retirement
- Nabil Jeffri Arden International 23 Retirement
- Sergey Sirotkin ART Grand Prix 22 Retirement
- Nicholas Latifi DAMS 21 Retirement


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