Stéphane Richelmi secured his first GP2 Series victory on the streets of Monte Carlo this afternoon.
The Monegasque racer held Sergio Canamasas at bay for the thirty-lap duration, with a stellar display.
On pre-used Pirelli tyres, Richelmi made an unremarkable start, as Caterham’s Rio Haryanto attempted a move around the outside of St Devote; however Richelmi held his line solidly, edging Haryanto wide and allowing Canamasas into 2nd spot.
From there, Canamasas pushed his DAMS rival hard, with the gap lingering around half-a-second for much of the running, although it did close to 0.2s come the end of lap seven; however despite his presence, Richelmi rarely ever looked like giving up the lead.
The leading pair had a little breather at the halfway point, when Artem Markelov (RUSSIAN TIME) smashed into the barrier at St Devote, bringing out a brief safety car.
When the race restarted on lap 17, Richelmi continued to hold the lead out front, yet Canamasas continued to push until three laps from the end, when a small error gave the leader a two second advantage, effectively killing the competition.
In the final few tours, Richelmi maintained his advantage, eventually taking the victory by 2.1s from a delighted Canamasas – a breakthrough result for both.
Haryanto kept the 3rd position he dropped to at the start; however for a time, it appeared as if the Indonesian had fallen away from the leading pair. By the one-third distance, Haryanto was some five seconds adrift of Canamsas, but pulled that back to just over one second when the safety car emerged.
When the race restarted, Haryanto held a reasonable pace, but considering the form of Canamasas and Richelmi, a better result than 3rd was not likely. Still, a very good effort.
Johnny Cecotto Jr held off a sixteen-car train to assume 4th place for Trident. The Colombian had very little pace during the sprint and was some two seconds per lap slower than the leaders during the final third of the race.
Behind Cecotto Jr, Arthur Pic pushed in the Campos Racing entry, but could not find a way passed the determined Cecotto Jr. In the mirrors of Cecotto Jr and Pic, RUSSIAN TIME’s Mitch Evans assumed 6th, ahead of points Jolyon Palmer (DAMS, 7th) and Adrian Quaife-Hobbs (Rapax) who took the final point in 8th.
Stefano Coletti (Racing Engineering) grabbed 9th from Conor Daly (Venezuela GP Lazarus) with four laps remaining, marking one of the few overtaking maneuvers on the famed Monte Carlo streets.
It was a poor day for championship contender Felipe Nasr (Carlin), who suffered a lap one puncture, sending the Brazilian down the run-off area at Mirabeau, while Markelov backed into the innocent Tio Ellinas through Massenet. Raffaele Marciello also made an uncharacteristic mistake on lap five, when he climbed the kerbs at Leows and ran into the side of Daniel de Jong as a result – both Markelove and Marciello received drive through penalties for their woes.
After three rounds, Palmer now takes a 46 point lead over Nasr, while Cecotto Jr and Julian Leal linger less than ten points further back.
2014 GP2 Series (Rd 3, Sprint Race, Monaco) Pos Driver Team Time/Gap 1. Stephane Richelmi DAMS 43m17.087s (30 laps) 2. Sergio Canamasas Trident +2.179s 3. Rio Haryanto Caterham +8.295s 4. Johnny Cecotto Jr Trident +25.320s 5. Arthur Pic Campos +25.753s 6. Mitch Evans Russian Time +25.973s 7. Jolyon Palmer DAMS +26.587s 8. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs Rapax +26.956s 9. Stefano Coletti Racing Engineering +28.473s 10. Conor Daly Lazarus +28.721s 11. Alexander Rossi Caterham +29.987s 12. Nathanael Berthon Lazarus +30.105s 13. Stoffel Vandoorne ART +30.604s 14. Kimiya Sato Campos +31.228s 15. Andre Negrao Arden +31.657s 16. Julian Leal Carlin +32.085s 17. Daniel Abt Hilmer +32.582s 18. Simon Trummer Rapax +33.458s 19. Raffaele Marciello Racing Engineering +34.328s 20. Rene Binder Arden +35.417s 21. Facu Regalia Hilmer +36.078s 22. Tio Ellinas MP Motorsport +1 lap Retirements: Artem Markelov Russian Time +18 laps Takuya Izawa ART +19 laps Daniel de Jong MP Motorsport +28 laps Felipe Nasr Carlin +30 laps