Theo Pourchaire became the youngest ever FIA Formula 2 winner after leading the majority of the feature race at Monaco from pole.
The 17-year-old ART driver withstood pressure from the Prema duo of Robert Shwartzman and Oscar Piastri in the first half of the race before taking victory by 2.8 seconds, despite several virtual safety car periods.
Piastri took second ahead of Virtuosi’s Felipe Drugovich, who was third using the alternate strategy. A slow pitstop dropped Shwartzman to fourth, while Carlin’s Dan Ticktum retired while battling Piastri for a podium place.
Pourchaire took the lead at the start, while HWA’s F2 returnee Jack Aitken retired after stalling on the grid.
The lead gap ebbed-and-flowed during the first phase of the race, with Shwartzman closing to within one second on several occasions, with Pourchaire able to respond each time and pull away. Meanwhile Piastri kept within touching distance of the lead duo, but came under increasing pressure from Ticktum behind approaching the pitstop window.
Ticktum was the first of the leaders to pit at the start of lap 27, with Piastri managing to emerge in front of the Briton after pitting on the next tour. Shwartzman made his stop three laps later, but a problem changing the left rear wheel cost the Ferrari junior several seconds.
That enabled Pourchaire to effectively retain the lead after pitting next time by, with Virtuosi’s Guanyu taking to the front – having yet to pit. A spate of virtual safety car periods followed after three separate incidents at La Rascasse.
Firstly, Marcus Armstrong crashed on the corner exit, after being run out of road by Hitech’s Juri Vips, who had recently pitted from fifth place. It marked the end of a miserable day for the DAMS driver, who was unable to start from pole position in the earlier sprint race due to a car issue. Vips subsequently received a five-second penalty for the incident.
Within moments of the green flag being shown, Lirim Zendelli locked up and crashed at the same corner, triggering a second caution period. Ticktum then became the corner’s third victim shortly afterwards. Piastri locked up at previous corner, allowing Ticktum a run on the outside approaching La Rascasse as they battled for a net second place. But Piastri went deep again, forcing Ticktum to a halt and into retirement, having been ran out of road.
Once Zhou pitted at the start of lap 37, Pourchaire moved back in front before cruising home to the win. Behind the front four, Zhou held off a late challenge from Campos driver Ralph Boschung to take fifth. Liam Lawson, who was stripped of the win in Saturday’s earlier race for using an illegal engine mode at the start, was seventh ahead of Hitech team-mate Vips, who did not lose any positions despite his time penalty.
After his podium finish in Friday’s race, Roy Nissany was ninth for DAMS ahead of MP Motorsport’s Richard Verschoor.
Carlin’s Yehan Daruvala was another non-finisher after an early clash with Campos driver Gianluca Petecof approaching the chicane.
Race result (42 laps)
|10||Richard Verschoor||MP Motorsport||+49.513s|
|15||Guilherme Samaia||Charouz||+1 lap|
|16||Gianluca Petecof||Campos||+1 lap|
|17||Alessio Deledda||HWA||+1 lap|
|18||Jack Aitken||HWA Racela||+2 laps|
|DNF||Lirim Zendeli||MP Motorsport|
Featured image credit: fiaformula2.com