Newly-crowned GP3 Series champion Esteban Gutierrez won the first race at Monza after a close battle for the victory.

The Mexican, who won the title after taking the two bonus points for pole position, made a clean start to lead through the opening chicane. Robert Wickens made a very good start, moving up from fifth to second, before passing Gutierrez for the lead. Both Nico Muller and Roberto Merhi soon found their way round Gutierrez. Rio Haryanto was running in fifth, ahead of Renger van der Zande, who had made a poor start from the front row.

Wickens bounces over the kerbs

The top six pulled away from the rest of the field, continually swapping positions for the remainder of the race. Muller found his way past Wickens for the lead, before Haryanto made his way up to third and then into the lead.

Van der Zande slowed and then retired from the race towards the end, while Wickens retook second place after Muller ran wide. The Canadian then passed Indonesian Haryanto for the lead. Gutierrez began his charge for victory by passing Muller for third and then picking off Haryanto, who dropped into the clutches of Muller and Merhi behind.

Gutierrez chased down Wickens to take the lead and his fifth win of the season. Haryanto held on third, ahead of Muller. Mirko Bortolotti finished fifth at his home circuit, ahead of Merhi in sixth. Josef Newgarden finished seventh after a strong finish allowed him to catch up with the leading pack. Nigel Melker passed Mucke teammate Tobias Hegewald to take eighth position, the final point and pole position for the second race.

Photo credit: GP3 Media