Antonio Fuoco defended his pole position throughout the entire race against Lando Norris to take a prestigious win in Monaco.
Just like the other sessions this year, the sprint race took place under gorgeous conditions, with Antonio Fuoco starting from pole position ahead of Jack Aitken and championship leader Lando Norris.
Fuoco remained in P1, but Norris took away second place from his countryman, who suffered an engine issue during the first laps and had to retire early after losing numerous positions.
Further back, Nyck de Vries stalled as well as Tadasuke Makino, who was immediately hit by Luca Ghiotto. The Italian wasn’t fast enough to react and destroyed Makino’s rear and his own nose.
After a short Virtual Safety Car period, Norris closed the gap to leader Fuoco. The pair pulled away from Fuoco’s teammate Delétraz and had a gap of more than 4 seconds before lap 5. This gap turned out to be irrelevant however as yesterday’s podium finisher Sean Gelael caught the kerb at the Swimming pool, got airborne and hit the barriers massively at turn 15. Double waved yellow flags and the safety car reset the gaps before lap 9, when Gelael’s car was removed from the track.
Fuoco maintained the lead and kept Norris at bay, while they increased the gap to Delétraz once again. At half-distance, McLaren junior Norris was two seconds behind Fuoco, at that moment, Delétraz was already closer to Arjun Maini, Artem Markelov and Roberto Merhi, who battled for P4.
The Russian, who won yesterday’s race, eventually took fourth place from rookie Maini, by showing a Canamasas-esque move at the inside of La Rascasse at the end of lap 17. The Renault protégé continued to push and reduced the gap to Delétraz, who was suffering gearbox issues, drastically.
At first, the Swiss looked nervous as he missed the Nouvelle Chicane but despite visibly not having the same pace as Markelov, he defended wonderfully when Markelov tried moves at turn 1, around the outside at Massenet or at the inside of the final corner.
The intense battles all over the grid were paused for a moment, when Mercedes junior driver George Russell crashed into the wall at the exit of turn 16, which led to another Virtual Safety Car.
With only five laps remaining, the safety car returned as Friday’s pole-sitter Albon wanted to overtake Roy Nissany after exiting the tunnel. The Thai was surprised by the early breaking of the Israeli and crashed into the Campos machinery. Both cars crashed into the barriers around the Nouvelle Chicane.
With two laps to and a safety car returning to the pits, everyone expected a final lap shootout. Unfortunately, due to Nirei Fukuzumi and Santino Ferrucci stopping at La Rascasse for no obvious reason, the safety car returned, and the positions stayed the same until the end of the race.
Antonio Fuoco took his first win in 2018, a victory which is even more special as it is the first for Charouz. The Czech outfit, who joined Formula 2 this season can be even more delighted as Louis Delétraz survived an eternal battle with Markelov to secure a Charouz 1-3.
Lando Norris finished in second place after a tough start to his weekend, Markelov took P4, followed by Merhi, Maini and Günther. Nicholas Latifi was rewarded for changing his tyres as he finished in P8 and posted the fastest lap which earns him another two points.
The next round of the season will take place in one month in France, where F2 already did pre-season testing.
|1*||Antonio Fuoco||Charouz||30 laps||15|
|4||Artem Markelov||Russian Time||+3.291||8|
|7**||Roberto Merhi||MP Motorsport||+10.299||2|
|8||Nicholas Latifi||DAMS||+11.442||1 + 2|
|9||Nyck de Vries||Prema||+1 lap|
|10||Luca Ghiotto||Campos||+1 lap|
|Ret||Nirei Fukuzumi||Arden||+3 laps|
|Ret**||Santino Ferrucci||Trident||+3 laps|
|Ret||Roy Nissany||Campos||+5 laps|
|Ret||Alexander Albon||DAMS||+5 laps|
|Ret||Ralph Boschung||MP Motorsport||+10 laps|
|Ret||George Russell||ART||+12 laps|
|Ret||Sean Gelael||Prema||+27 laps|
|Ret||Tadasuke Makino||Russian Time||+28 laps|
|Ret||Jack Aitken||ART||+29 laps|
|DNP||Sergio Sette Camara||Carlin|
*NOTE: Fuoco and Norris were penalised by 0.8s and 1.1s, respectively, for failing to comply to the VSC minimum time. Norris dropped from second to third as a consequence.
**NOTE: Merhi was handed a five-second penalty for overtaking Maini behind the Safety Car, and dropped from fifth to seventh as a consequence.
***NOTE: Ferrucci was handed a ten-second penalty for changing gearbox settings in the pit lane without the race director’s consent.
Fastest lap points
|1||Lando Norris||United Kingdom||98|
|4||George Russell||United Kingdom||62|
|5||Jack Aitken||United Kingdom||49|
|6||Nyck de Vries||Netherlands||46|
|7||Sergio Sette Camara||Brazil||46|
|17||Santino Ferrucci||United States||4|
|7||MP Motorsport||United Kingdom||33|