Jerome D’Ambrosio cashed in the pole position he earned for finishing eighth in the Monaco GP2 feature race, leading from the start to win the sprint ahead of Giedo van der Garde and Jules Bianchi.
His poor results in the previous round at Barcelona mean his success only lifts him to 10th in the championship, while Barwa Addax driver Sergio Perez earned a point for finishing sixth and retains the lead he grabbed with his feature race win.
There were slim pickings for the British drivers, all of whom started well down the field. Sam Bird fought his way through to 10th, earning the bonus point for setting the fastest lap of the race as he did so – the second time this season that he has taken the award.
Max Chilton’s 14th place was his best result of the year so far, while Oliver Turvey was one of a number of drivers penalised with drive-throughs and could only finish 15th.
He said: “I got a good start, on the approach to turn one I saw a lot of smoke ahead and it looked like there was a collision further up, so I did cut the first corner to avoid what I thought was a collision. I didn’t gain any advantage, I made sure I slotted back in to where I was.
“I didn’t gain anything so I was a bit surprised to get the penalty. Before this my race was going well. I managed to overtake Ericsson in to the hairpin on the first lap. We were moving forwards, we were into the top ten.”
D’Ambrosio’s victory was built on the back of a strong start, defending against front row rival Luiz Razia. The even-numbered side of the grid at Monaco often proves a disadvantage, and Razia was swiftly overtaken by van der Garde.
Alberto Valerio, Pastor Maldonado and Bianchi filled the next places, until the stewards handed out a series of penalties for jump starts and cutting the first corner. Maldonado was among those called in, and Valerio’s challenge ended after he hit the wall while trying an overtake on Razia.
His incident coincided with a separate one elsewhere on the course, and the safety car was brought out. D’Ambrosio survived the restart ahead of van der Garde, but Razia came under sustained pressure from Bianchi and eventually lost the place – later also falling victim to a late challenge from Johnny Cecotto.
D’Ambrosio said: “It feels good – I’ve had pole, in Asia, I’ve been second and had some good races, but I haven’t been winning and this is just great, you know? You have these special circuits – you have Spa in Belgium, you have Monaco, and getting a win here is always very special, and very different.”