Stefano Coletti achieved a life’s ambition by winning today’s sprint race in Monaco, looking untouchable on his home circuit as he handled the changing conditions better than his rivals while controlling his pace to easily lead home Adrian Quaife-Hobbs and Mitch Evans.
With spots of rain falling as the cars came to the grid all eyes were on Ste Devote as the lights went out, as the teams were hoping to avoid a repeat of yesterday’s first start: poleman Quaife-Hobbs made a solid getaway, fellow front row starter Rene Binder didn’t, and Coletti stormed past with James Calado and Evans on his tail.
Evans poached another spot at Portier, running inside the Briton who only just made the corner before having to defend hard from Felipe Nasr, but it was to no avail: the Brazilian took fourth at Ste Devote when Calado cut the corner. Up ahead his countryman was struggling with the conditions as Coletti piled on the pressure: one lap later he had the inside line at the new chicane and was through for the lead.
With the track drying out the Monegasque driver was already thinking of the championship, building a gap at will before dropping back to cool his tyres ahead of a fast lap as he looked for the bonus point, while behind him Quaife-Hobbs was unable to do anything about Coletti in front of him as his mirrors were full of his rivals all around the circuit.
And as the laps rolled down, the result was never in doubt: Coletti rolled across the line as the first local man to win in Monaco since Louis Chiron in 1931, easily ahead of Quaife-Hobbs who held on against race-long pressure to lead a train of Evans (who claimed two podiums over the weekend), Nasr and Calado. Binder had a quiet race to finish P6, just ahead of yesterday’s P2 man Kevin Ceccon and the other local driver, Stephane Richelmi.
The win extends Coletti’s lead in the title race to 120 points versus Nasr on 96, with Sam Bird on 58 points ahead of Leimer on 54, Calado on 40, Robin Frijns on 37 and Evans on 36: the local man will have just over a month to celebrate before turning towards the next round of the championship in Silverstone.