Feature race at Monza: Vandoorne holds on for third win

Belgian denies Pic in race long duel.

Feature race at Monza: Vandoorne holds on for third win
Stoffel Vandoorne
Stoffel Vandoorne, Arthur Pic and Mitch Evans
Stephane Richelmi
Stephane Richelmi
Stephane Richelmi
Stephane Richelmi
Mitch Evans
Mitch Evans
Mitch Evans
Arthur Pic
Stoffel Vandoorne
Stephane Richelmi
Mitch Evans
Arthur Pic
Arthur Pic
Stoffel Vandoorne

Stoffel Vandoorne led from lights to flag, pitstop period excepted, for a strong victory in this afternoon's feature race in Monza, but the McLaren test driver didn't have it all his own way: he rebuffed race-long pressure from Arthur Pic for his third win of the season, with Mitch Evans filling out the podium.

The Belgian made a solid start from pole when the lights went out, but moved immediately to his right to defend from fellow front row starter Pic, who had an equally strong getaway ahead of Evans and Richelmi, who had picked up a few positions when Simon Trummer stalled and Raffaele Marciello almost copied him, while Julian Leal, Daniel Abt, Felipe Nasr and André Negrao following the Monegasque driver through the first chicane.

Next time through the corner didn't go quite to plan, however: Nasr sliced his way past Abt, but behind them Kimiya Sato collected Daniel de Jong going into the chicane, while Takuya Izawa and Rene Binder came together, forcing Marciello wide into the gravel and retirement. Meanwhile, Series leader Jolyon Palmer was playing the long game: after starting from the rear of the grid due to yesterday's penalty, he picked off his rivals when the opportunity arose and was already in P15 by lap 4.

With most of the leaders starting on the option tyres, they opted for conservative drives to extend the lives: Leal lost out in the pits to Abt and Negrao, with the German setting a string of fastest laps to put himself behind Richelmi on track as they waited for the prime starters to come in. Unfortunately for Abt he was jumped by Negrao at the 2nd chicane, throwing him back into the Carlin scrap as Leal and Nasr squabbled over position, with the Hilmer man forced off at the Lesmos complex into retirement.

Temporary race leader Marco Sorensen and the hard charging Palmer finally pitted on lap 20, emerging either side of Leal and Coletti, with the latter overtaking the Colombian in an incredible move at the Parabolica to put his qualy demons to rest in fine style. Unfortunately for both of them Palmer was on a mission, and would not be denied as he disposed of both men as the laps counted down.

Back at the front Vandoorne breezed across the line to claim victory from Pic, but the Frenchman was just 0.6 seconds behind as the flag dropped for his best result of the season: behind them Evans rounded out a solid but quiet drive for another podium finish, 4 seconds behind Vandoorne but almost six ahead of Richelmi in 4th. Negrao denied Nasr for P5 with a tremendous drive, with Sorensen finishing just ahead of Palmer, who claimed 8th and tomorrow's all-important pole position (along with the bonus points for fastest lap), ahead of Coletti and Johnny Cecotto, who picked up P10 when Leal was handed a drive through for the incident with Abt.

Palmer's superb recovery drive saw him preserve his drivers' championship lead by 216 points to Nasr's 186, while Vandoorne closed in to 164 points, ahead of Cecotto on 128 and Evans on 125 points, with more to come in tomorrow morning's sprint race.

Monza – Feature Race

 
Driver
Team
1.
Stoffel Vandoorne
ART Grand Prix
2.
Arthur Pic
Campos Racing
3.
Mitch Evans
RT RUSSIAN TIME
4.
Stéphane Richelmi
DAMS
5.
André Negrao
Arden International
6.
Felipe Nasr
Carlin
7.
Macor Sorensen
MP Motorsport
8.
Jolyon Palmer
DAMS
9.
Stefano Coletti
Racing Engineering
10.
Johnny Cecotto
Trident
11.
Adrian Quaife-Hobbs
Rapax
12.
Jon Lancaster
Hilmer Motorsport
13.
Nathanaël Berthon
Venezuela GP Lazarus
14.
Julian Leal
Carlin
15.
Sergio Campana
Venezuela GP Lazarus
16.
Rio Haryanto
Caterham Racing
17.
Pierre Gasly
Caterham Racing
18.
Sergio Canamasas
Trident
19.
Simon Trummer
Rapax
20.
Rene Binder
Arden International
21.
Artem Markelov
RT RUSSIAN TIME
Not Classified
Daniel Abt
Hilmer Motorsport
Daniel De Jong
MP Motorsport
Kimiya Sato
Campos Racing
Takuya Izawa
ART Grand Prix
Raffaele Marciello
Racing Engineering

Fastest Lap: Julian Leal (Carlin) – 2:33.473 on lap 30

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