Matsushita dominates to take Monaco Sprint Race victory

Nobuharu Matsushita - Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Nobuharu Matsushita converted the reverse grid pole position into a dominant victory around the streets of Monaco on Saturday for his second career GP2 Series victory.

The Japanese racer made a sluggish start but was able to retain the lead into the first corner, with the ART Grand Prix driver running away with the race, winning by 13.660 seconds at the end of the 30-lap race.

Matsushita held off the challenge of fellow front row starter Marvin Kirchhöfer into the first corner, but the German driver withstood almost race long pressure from Raffaele Marciello to claim second for Carlin at the chequered flag, his first podium finish in GP2 since his step up from GP3.

Marciello finished on the bottom step of the podium, only settling for third in the closing stages for Russian Time, while Mitch Evans drove a lonely race to fourth for Campos Racing.

Alex Lynn led home a quartet of drivers separated by a little over 1.3 seconds, with the DAMS driver being followed home by the Feature race podium finishers, Norman Nato, Oliver Rowland and Artem Markelov.

Whereas many drivers were forced to hold position on track, Sergio Canamasas lit up the afternoons race with impressive overtaking manoeuvres on Pierre Gasly, Gustav Malja and Daniel de Jong to move into the top ten, but unfortunately for the Carlin driver he was unable to score any points with only the top eight scoring points in the Sprint race.

Whereas Matsushita was celebrating on his side of the garage, his ART Grand Prix team-mate Sergey Sirotkin will be disappointed once more after retiring for the third time in four races, with the points he earned from pole position in Monaco on Thursday his only points of the season so far.

After five virtual safety cars during the Feature race on Friday, there was only one brief one on Saturday, caused when Sean Gelael crashed his Campos Racing car at Ste Devote.

As well as Sirotkin and Gelael, both Nicholas Latifi of DAMS and Philo Paz Armand of Trident were forced to retire, with the latter being forced into the barriers by Jordan King that earned the Arden International driver a ten-second penalty.

Marvin Kirchhofer - Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd
Marvin Kirchhofer – Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Monaco Sprint Race Result

11Nobuharu MatsushitaJAPART Grand Prix41:59.392
219Marvin KirchhoferGERCarlin+13.660
39Raffaele MarcielloITARussian Time+15.453
47Mitch EvansNZLCampos Racing+20.894
55Alex LynnGBRDAMS+32.560
63Norman NatoFRARacing Engineering+33.038
722Oliver RowlandGBRMP Motorsport+33.594
810Artem MarkelovRUSRussian Time+33.874
912Arthur PicFRARapax+36.777
1018Sergio CanamasasESPCarlin+47.646
1123Daniel de JongNEDMP Motorsport+54.291
1211Gustav MaljaSWERapax+55.476
1321Pierre GaslyFRAPrema Racing+55.981
1415Luca GhiottoITATrident+56.501
1525Jimmy ErikssonSWEArden International+58.682
164Jordan KingGBRRacing Engineering+1:09.193
1724Nabil JeffriMAYArden International+1:17.922
1820Antonio GiovinazziITAPrema Racing+1:17.997
RET6Nicholas LatifiCANDAMSRetired
RET2Sergey SirotkinRUSART Grand PrixRetired
RET8Sean GelaelINOCampos RacingRetired
RET14Philo Paz ArmandINOTridentRetired