Mitch Evans stole victory from Arthur Pic on the final lap following a race long battle for the win of this morning’s sprint race in Monza: the New Zealander broke his rival’s heart with a clinical move inside at the Rettifilo chicane with the Frenchman having to make do with holding off the Series leader Stoffel Vandoorne at the line.
Pic made a good getaway from P2 when the lights went out, easily dispatching slow starting poleman Jordan King on the run down to the first chicane: the Englishman came together with Norman Nato in the corner, breaking his front wing as the Frenchman retired on the spot, causing Richie Stanaway to take avoiding action before leading Evans and McLaren tester Vandoorne to the Curva Grande, ahead of Sergio Canamasas, Rene Binder, Artem Markelov and Robert Visiou.
Behind them Alexander Rossi was eager to add to his win from yesterday, and was soon challenging Visiou for the final points position: on lap 6 the Romanian ran a little wide at Rettifilo, handing the American an easy run inside and through on the Curva Grande, but Visiou ran too deep and spun his rival at Roggia, with the pair out on the spot and the safety car emerging to help the marshals deal with the stricken cars.
The race was live 2 laps later, with the top three trading fastest laps as they left the rest of the field behind. Sergey Sirotkin and Raffaele Marciello were running like a train through their rivals lap after lap as they closed down the points paying positions with ease to make up for their disappointments of yesterday.
Back at the front the pace was white hot, but Pic looked to have the better of his rivals until Evans made a last ditch attempt, throwing his car up the inside at the Rettifilo and claiming the lead: Pic fought back hard, forcing the New Zealander to defend at Roggia, giving Vandoorne a shot at P2 and forcing the Frenchman to defend to the flag, with just 1 second covering the top three as it dropped. Stanaway had a lonely race for a strong 4th, with Sirotkin stealing P5 from Canamasas on the penultimate lap, the pair finishing ahead of Marciello and Binder.
Two podiums for the weekend saw Vandoorne extend his lead in the Drivers’ Championship over Rossi by 261 points to 153, with Sirotkin moving up to P3 on 115 points ahead of Rio Haryanto on 109 and Evans on 89 points, while in the Teams’ Championship ART Grand Prix pulled away from Racing Engineering by 309 points to 199, ahead of Campos Racing on 166, DAMS on 151, RUSSIAN TIME on 136 and Rapax on 135 as they look forward to the next round in Sochi.
Sprint Race results
1 Mitch Evans RT RUSSIAN TIME
2 Arthur Pic Campos Racing
3 Stoffel Vandoorne ART Grand Prix
4 Richie Stanaway Status Grand Prix
5 Sergey Sirotkin Rapax
6 Sergio Canamasas Daiko Team Lazarus
7 Raffaele Marciello Trident
8 Rene Binder MP Motorsport
9 Artem Markelov RUSSIAN TIME
10 Julian Leal Carlin
11 Alex Lynn DAMS
12 Rio Haryanto Campos Racing
13 Pierre Gasly DAMS
14 Johnny Cecotto Trident
15 Nobuharu Matsushita ART Grand Prix
16 Simon Trummer Hilmer Motorsport
17 Patric Niederhauser Daiko Team Lazarus
18 André Negrao Arden International
19 Marlon Stockinger Status Grand Prix
20 Jann Mardenborough Carlin