F2: O'Sullivan takes maiden victory in nail-biting F2 feature race from P15 on the grid

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Monaco, Monte Carlo Circuitmc

Having waited for his mandatory pit stop until the penultimate lap, Williams junior driver Zak O'Sullivan took his opportunity when the virtual safety car was deployed in the dying moments to take his maiden F2 victory in Monaco. F1Technical's senior writer Balázs Szabó reports on the F2 Monaco Feature Race.

Starting from the pole position, Richard Verschoor maintained the lead into Sainte Dvote, but there were changes behind. Isack Hadjar got a great getaway to overtake Paul Aron at the start.

Ferrari junior driver Oliver Bearman had a brilliant start as he jumped from a disappointing P12 on the grid into P7 as the field completed the opening lap. The young Briton started on Pirelli's supersoft tyres just as Gabriel Bortoleto.

The first part of the race saw drivers settling into a rhythm, waiting for the all-important mandatory pit stop that is always decisive in Monaco due to the lack of overtaking opportunities.

Sauber junior driver Zane Maloney completed his mandatory stop on Lap 15. The championship leader rejoined the track in P19, but Josep Pepe Marti overtook him on the Massanet crest as Maloney struggled for tyre temperatures.

The next lap saw Enzo Fittipaldi visit the pit lane for new tyres. In the meantime, Bearman got company from behind with Bortoleto closing in on the Briton.

The battle did not last long as Bearman elected to take fresh softs at the end of Lap 16 with the pit stop dropping him back to P17.

Bortoleto pitted on Lap 18, and rejoined the track ahead of Bearman, but the Briton made use of his tyres as the Brazilian struggled from the cold Pirellis.

In the meatime, race leader Verschoor endured drama as he reported technical problems from the cockpit. However, he could continue for the moment. The Dutchman was moaning his luck, but his team urged him to concentrate on driving until the car worked.

On Lap 21, Paul Aron elected to pit just as Andrea Kimi Antonelli. The Italian sensation rejoined the track in front of his team-mate, but Bearman found a way past at the hairpin to make the jump on Antonelli.

The next lap saw Hadjar pit for a fresh set of softs. A lap later, Verschoor also came in for new tyres. Although he rejoined in front of Hadjar, he was unable to defend from the Frenchman who passed him. Having suffered from technical issues, Aron and Bearman also passed the Dutchman on the main straight as Verschoor endured engine woes.

On Lap 31, Verschoor retired from the race due to his technical issues, ending a promising race in disaster.

With 12 laps to got, Juan Manuel Correia and yesterday's race winner Taylor Barnard also pitted, leaving only Dennis Hauger, Victor Martins and Joshua Durksen on old tyres out on track.

With only three laps to go, Martin pitted for new tyres from P2, leaving only O'Sullivan on old tyres in the lead.

On the penultimate lap, Durksen and Maloney came together at the exit of Sainte Devote. With the pair leaving debris on the run-up to the crest, the virtual safety car was deployed.

Williams junior driver O'Sullivan grabbed the opportunity to complete his mandatory pit stop, managing to rejoin the track in the lead. The British driver was able to hang on to the lead, fending off the attack from Hadjar to take his maiden F2 victory.

The late VSC left Hadjar very disappointed, as the Red Bull driver had to settle for second place after controlling the second half of the race. Aron completed the podium ahead of Ferrari junior driver Bearman.

Commenting on his victory, O'Sullivan added: "Just won the Feature Race in Monaco, bit of a crazy race starting from 15th, didn't really expect it but pace was strong and again luck was on my side with the VSC at the end.

"But super happy for the team, it's been a tricky start to the year but it's finally good to get a big result and a big boost for the rest of the season."

Championship standings

Zane Maloney lost the lead in the Drivers’ Championship as Paul Aron’s fifth podium of the year put him on top with 80 points. Isack Hadjar is two points adrift after moving up to second place while Maloney dropped down to third with 69 points.

Dennis Hauger is in fourth with 56 points while Gabriel Bortoleto rounds out the top five on 50.

In the Teams’ Standings, Campos Racing continue to lead the way with 104 points, while Hitech Pulse-Eight move up to second place with 95. They are a point ahead of MP Motorsport in third while Rodin Motorsport drop to fourth with 85 points as Invicta Racing round out the top five on 84.