Norman Nato was on course to take his second consecutive Feature race victory in the GP2 Series at Monaco on Friday, only for a succession of virtual safety cars and an excellent, if not lucky, drive by Artem Markelov to deny the Frenchman the triumph.
The Racing Engineering team had lengthy discussions with the stewards at Monaco to determine how Russian Time’s Markelov made up so much time compared to Nato under the virtual safety car (VSC), but were forced to accept that what happened was legal, and Markelov was the victor on Friday.
Markelov had only been fifteen seconds ahead of Nato prior to a number of VSCs that blighted the second half of the race, but the timing of those VSC’s benefited the Russian more as he was in the slower parts of the circuit when it was called, meaning less time was lost in comparison to Nato, who was on a much faster part of the circuit.
“It also took us quite some time to process and understand which we did only after several hours at the stewards’,” revealed Racing Engineering’s Technical Director Sebastien Viger. “This showed how wrong things went for us with the multiple Virtual Safety Cars.
“Basically, Markelov was very lucky as he took the VSC on slow zones where he was not loosing time and Norman and others took it on fast zones, which resulted in huge time losses.
“Well done by Russian Time and Artem, who did a good race and took the opportunity. But for us this is a hard pill to swallow at the moment when only a few laps separate you from the race win in Monaco.”