Monza GP2: Nato controls sprint race, Prema duo complete podium

Norman Nato claimed his second GP2 victory in the sprint race at Monza, as title contenders Pierre Gasly and Antonio Giovinazzi fought through to make up the podium.

Monza GP2: Nato controls sprint race, Prema duo complete podium
Norman Nato, Racing Engineering
Norman Nato, Racing Engineering
Pierre Gasly, PREMA Racing
Pierre Gasly, PREMA Racing
Antonio Giovinazzi, PREMA Racing
Antonio Giovinazzi, PREMA Racing and Pierre Gasly, PREMA Racing
Norman Nato, Racing Engineering
Norman Nato, Racing Engineering
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Nato went from fourth to first between lights out and Variante del Rettifilo and hit his marks on the way to a comfortable victory in the 21-lap race.

Campos Racing's Mitch Evans was reverse-grid poleman after Saturday's safety-car-affected race, but the Kiwi gave up the lead almost immediately, suffering from severe wheelspin off the line.

That allowed Jordan King to move ahead but, as King went to cover off Evans, teammate Nato drew alongside on the approach to the first chicane and snatched the lead for good.

And, as a Racing Engineering 1-2 was established out front, things got messy further in the pack, with heavy braking into Variante della Roggia resulting in incidents.

First, Oliver Rowland clobbered Luca Ghiotto heading into the corner, before Gustav Malja bounced over the kerbs and tapped Evans into a spin - with both Rowland and Malja picking up 10-second penalties that would eventually deny them points.

The incident brought out a Virtual Safety Car and left the leading trio of Nato, King and Pierre Gasly well in the clear, the Frenchman having narrowly escaped startline collision in going from P5 to P3.

When the race got going again, Gasly was all over King, but could not get the move done quickly, allowing Nato to clear out into the distance.

On lap 10, the Frenchman drew alongside King into Variante del Rettifilo, with the pair leaving the corner side-by-side.

They remained inseparable through Curva Grande before Gasly completed the move into Variante della Roggia.

However, Nato was long gone by then, and Gasly could not close the gap, going on to finish 4.3s off the race winner.

King, meanwhile, appeared to struggle for pace in the second half of the race, with Saturday winner Giovinazzi getting the job done for the final podium spot on lap 18.

King also allowed Malja through but the Swede's penalty meant the Manor development driver got to keep fourth, just holding off Artem Markelov.

As Markelov himself held up Nobuharu Matsushita on approach to the final corner, Alex Lynn put his car on the inside line at Parabolica and won the drag race to the line for sixth.

Rowland's penalty meant that Lynn's teammate Nicholas Latifi completed the points.

While Gasly and Giovinazzi prospered - the duo now separated by 10 points with four races to go - it was a difficult race for their nearest rivals Raffaele Marciello and Sergey Sirotkin.

Marciello stalled on the formation lap and had to fight through from the pitlane, finishing P15, while Sirotkin retired with a gearbox failure in the first chicane.

Race results

 

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