Mike Conway was robbed of a podium finish by a piece of last-lap idiocy in a GP2 race that saw the name Senna once again on the top step of a Monaco podium.
Bruno Senna overtook pole-sitter Pastor Maldonado on the start line and maintained his advantage through the entire race, at times building up a six second lead and at times harried closely by the Venezuelan.
Trident’s Mike Conway had produced an excellent qualifying lap to start third, and he remained untroubled in that position until the final trip through the tunnel when the lapped Javier Villa hit him from behind on exit, sending him spinning out of the race.
Conway was classified eighth, despite not crossing the line, and Villa was hit with a 10-place grid penalty in the next race. The Briton’s team, Trident, said the race had left a bitter taste and described Villa’s move as a “colossal mistake”.
Managing director Alessandro Alunni Bravi said the team was surprised Villa had received such a light penalty. Villa’s team, Racing Engineering, brushed the incident off as bad luck.
Conway himself said: “I’m really really disappointed for what happened today. After driving a great race, making a great stop and running on a perfect strategy, it’s quite tough to see such great work being completely destroyed by unacceptable behaviour from by a lapped driver.
“It’s really hard to imagine how someone can commit such a huge mistake with a few corners to go, and nothing to fight for. I only can look forward to Race 2, where I’ll be able to start on pole, even though I would have preferred to take a really deserved trophy back home today.”
His eighth place and team-mate Ho Pin Tung’s seventh means the second race will have an all-Trident front row.
Karun Chandhok, who inherited third from Conway, was quite happy to celebrate his unexpected good fortune: “I have to say that fourth was what I was aiming for, but third is a nice little bonus: it’s Monaco, got a podium, happy days.
“I was making 1.6, 1.7 seconds a lap on Mike, I was really catching him. Then I don’t know what happened – Javi says that Mike braked early at the tunnel, but I have no idea because I didn’t see anything.
“I came out of the tunnel and all I saw was Javi in the middle of the road and Mike sideways, so I had a really good laugh for the rest of the lap, all the way to the line.”
Adam Carroll’s weekend was disrupted by an accident during practice and ended early as one of a number of retirements when a race incident saw the field come to a complete halt on the circuit. Ben Hanley had a subdued race, finishing 16th.