Racing Engineering needed stewards to explain GP2 VSC confusion

GP2 championship leader Norman Nato's Racing Engineering team says it needed lengthy discussions with the FIA to understand Artem Markelov's surprise victory in the Monaco feature race

Racing Engineering needed stewards to explain GP2 VSC confusion

Russian Time driver Markelov came from 15th to victory last Friday, rising up the order by staying out until two laps from the end before pitting but also gaining time on the erstwhile leaders during the two late virtual safety car periods.

Nato had led from the start and described himself as "really pissed off and angry" to see Markelov emerge from the pits ahead.

The Russian had been only 15 seconds in front of Nato prior to the virtual safety cars, an inadequate margin for making his pitstop.

Racing Engineering technical director Sebastien Viger said the team had to unravel what happened with the officials.

"It took us quite some time to process and understand, which we did only after several hours at the stewards," he said.

"This showed how wrong things went for us with the multiple virtual safety cars.

"Basically, Markelov was very lucky as he took the VSC on slow zones [of the track] where he was not losing time and Norman and others took it on fast zones, which resulted in huge time losses.

"Well done by Russian Time and Artem, who did a good race and took the opportunity.

"But for us this is a hard pill to swallow at the moment when only a few laps separate you from the race win in Monaco."

The penultimate virtual safety car on lap 35 was called very briefly for debris to be retrieved from Casino Square, and coincided with Markelov going through the slow section down the hill through the hairpin while his pursuers were in the faster first sector.

Conversely when the final, longer VSC period ended, Markelov was able to take more benefit as he was in the faster run through the tunnel and Tabac, while his rivals' increase in pace was relatively limited as they were now in the slower corners.

Markelov felt the most significant aspect of his win had been the pace he showed on old soft tyres when staying out in the race lead.

"We decided it during the race because the pace was good," he said of the strategy.

"My engineer kept on asking me: 'How are the tyres?' and I answered him: 'I'm pushing! I'm pushing! The tyres are really good'.

"Actually [nearly] 40 laps on softs, I've never seen that before in GP2, even in Formula 1 in Monaco. I'm like Superman."

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