Norman Nato finally returned to winning ways as a great start propelled him into the lead at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza on Sunday, with the Frenchman never under threat thereafter.
The Racing Engineering driver jumped from fourth on the grid to the lead into the first turn, and the gradually pulled away from the chasing pack, led initially by team-mate Jordan King and then by championship leader Pierre Gasly.
“The start was great and during the first few laps it was difficult to create a gap on Jordan,” said Nato. “But as soon as I escaped his DRS I was able to increase the gap and manage it all race long on Gasly.
“Today we were clearly the fastest on track and I was able to control the race and Gasly behind me at any moment. I am happy today we were able to show our speed without any incident outside of our control affecting our race.”
Nato was disappointed to lose out on a potential Feature race victory at Monza as the Frenchman was amongst those to be compromised by the chaos behind the safety car on Saturday.
The Frenchman was battling for the win with Gasly but the confusion behind the safety car relegated both behind the eventual podium finishes Antonio Giovinazzi, Raffaele Marciello and Gustav Malja.
“The start was good and I gained some positions, but didn’t risk anything as I wanted to be a good position to fight my way up and my pace was really strong on the option tyres,” said Nato.
“It’s a bit like in Spa, everything went really well, until the Safety Car. I was in second and fighting for the win, when I could not really understand why, behind the Safety Car, I dropped to fifth and we had a new race leader.
“During the last laps of the race we fought with drivers on option tyres, who were not really supposed to lead the race. To summarise, P5 is a disappointment when you know you were fighting for the win.”