Norman Nato admitted his surprise to see his performance during the Feature race at Monaco be rewarded with only a runners-up spot after Artem Markelov lucked in with the timing of the virtual safety cars.
Nato had jumped pole sitter Sergey Sirotkin at the start, and the Racing Engineering driver seemingly had the race in his pocket, leading up until his pit stop, but found himself behind Markelov’s Russian Time machine as the Russian exited the pit lane after his own stop.
“My start was good and I was able to pass Sirotkin straight away,” said Nato. “Our pace was good then and I mainly followed the instructions of Thomas, my engineer. I was simply trying to not make any mistakes and we were stronger than the others today.
“When I re-joined the track after my pit stop I didn’t really understand how a car could be in front of me when I pushed and made no mistakes for some 40 laps. This is obviously quite disappointing when you’ve lead until two laps before the end.”
On Saturday’s Sprint race, Nato did not want to take any risks, instead securing sixth place and more points, enabling him to leave Monaco with the championship lead, although he did lose out on the bonus point for fastest lap to race winner Nobuharu Matsushita.
“It was a long race, I didn’t want to take any risks because the target was to score points today and try to take the fastest lap, but Matsushita took it right at the end,” said Nato.
“I tried again as I had the tyre to do it but I was blocked by [Alex] Lynn who was a bit slower than me. It has been a positive weekend because I am leading the Championship and P6 today so it is job done and now we need to continue.”