Mihai Marinescu converted his maiden FIA Formula Two pole position into a comfortable first ever victory in the first of the two races at Monza, while championship leader Mirko Bortolotti finished second to all but win the title.
Romanian driver Marinescu was actually beaten into the first chicane at the start by Alex Brundle who started alongside him on the front row. Marinescu regained the lead however one lap later and then pulled away, taking the checkered flag after 21 laps with a five second margin.
“I’m really happy and most of all I’m happier because it happened here in Monza,” said Marinescu. “I feel really at home here. I had a tricky get away from the start, Alex got past at the first chicane but on the next lap I made my move and overtook him and then I drove it safely home.
“I’ve done a lot of things differently since Austria starting with the preparation for the weekend itself and then a different approach to the whole weekend and it looks like it paid off.”
Bortolotti started from fourth on his home circuit but found his way past Ramon Pineiro, winner of the past three races, a few laps in. He then charged after Brundle and put pressure on him during the second half of the race. He finally found a way through on the run down to the second chicane on the very last lap.
Christopher Zanella kept his title hopes alive by passing Tobias Hegewald and finishing behind Pineiro in fifth. He is 68 points behind Bortolotti now, meaning he must win all three of the remaining races to stand a chance of overhauling the Italian.
Hegewald led home fellow German Thiemo Storz in sixth, with Jack Clarke, Mikkel Mac and Luciano Bacheta rounding out the top ten.
Race one results:
1. Mihai Marinescu, 21 Laps
2. Mirko Bortolotti, +5.411s
3. Alex Brundle, +6.114s
4. Ramon Pineiro, +7.676s
5. Christopher Zanella, +8.655s
6. Tobias Hegewald, +19.576s
7. Thiemo Storz, +22.622s
8. Jack Clarke, +24.320s
9. Mikkel Mac, +31.739s
10. Luciano Bacheta, +34.480s