De Vries, Cecotto secure 1-2 for Rapax
Nyck De Vries secured his Sprint Race victory at the Circuit de Monaco, leading a Rapax 1-2 from Johnny Cecotto jr and Racing Engineering’s Gustav Malja.
Pole sitter Cecotto made a good start but fellow front row starter De Vries made a better one, running around the outside to claim the first position into Ste Devote ahead of his team mate and Malja, who did just enough to fend off Russian Time driver Luca Ghiotto as they headed up the hill.
De Vries was soon soaring away, building a gap which would last all the way to the flag. Cecotto tried to keep his team mate in sight, and the pair soon built a large gap back to Malja, who had his mirrors full of the blue and white car all race long, but the Venezuelan was struggling more with his car and at the halfway make started dropping back toward his rivals.
The McLaren development driver De Vries didn’t have everything go his way: a barrier touch at Tabac quickly focused the Dutchman’s attentions on his driving rather than the result, and he didn’t put a wheel wrong afterwards before finally being greeted by the flag for his best single race result of his career. Behind him Cecotto withstood pressure from Malja for the second half of the race and held firm to round out the 1-2 for Rapax, with Malja delighted to be back on the podium once again.
Ghiotto followed the Swede across the line for P4, his second strong performance in the principality this weekend but once again denied the podium, while teammate Artem Markelov crossed behind the Italian after muscling past Alexander Albon at Rascasse on lap 20 for 5th, with Thai driver finishing just ahead of team mate Nobuharu Matsushita and Jordan King, who rounded out the points in P8.
Local driver Charles Leclerc will be bitterly disappointed after a home round that promised so much: a pole and two DNFs means that Oliver Rowland closed the gap between the pair to just 3 points in the Drivers’ Championship, 77 points to 74, with Markelov on 60 ahead of team mate Ghiotto on 56 and ART pair Matsushita and Albon further back on 48 and 37 points, while in the Teams’ Championship Russian Time leads the way from DAMS by 116 points to 102 ahead of ART Grand Prix on 85 and Prema Racing on 79 as they turn their attention to the next round of the championship in Baku on 23-25 June.