Monras claims commanding maiden Formula Two win
Miki Monras claimed a commanding maiden win in the final race at Silverstone, leading from pole position and making the most of a series of incidents behind him to establish an early lead which he never looked like surrendering.
Monras' fellow front-row starter Mirko Bortolotti bogged down and lost out to Will Bratt at the start. Bratt however was later handed a drive-through penalty for not respecting track limits, and after failing to come in was then black-flagged. He finished second on circuit but was demoted, handing Christopher Zanella - who started from tenth - a maiden F2 podium in third.
There was drama right from the very start of the 21-lap race two with Briton Alex Brundle failing to get away from the line due to clutch issues, leaving the rest of the field to frantically try to avoid him which all but Parthiva Sureshwaren did. After a slow puncture in race once, Brundle leaves his home circuit after a luckless weekend and no doubt will be gunning to make amends next month when the series travels to Magny-Cours for rounds three and four.
The action continued on the opening lap with Spaniard Ramon Pineiro, who started fifth, spinning as he attacked Mirko Bortolotti at Stowe. He dropped down the order before working his way back through the field to 11th - just outside a second points finish.
19-year-old Monras pushed early on to establish a sizeable cushion while behind him Bratt and Bortolotti battled for second and third places. Swiss driver Zanella, a former Formula Renault 2.0 winner, meanwhile found himself in fourth place - just ahead of Tobias Hegewald in fifth - after an impressive opening few laps, firmly establishing himself as a driver to watch this season.
After starting a career best 14th, Bulgarian Plamen Kralev was battling hard in the midfield with German Julian Theobald. The two made contact on lap six with Julian retiring and Kralev continuing to finish 17th. Just behind Frenchman Benjamin Lariche was pressing Natalia Kowalska hard just outside the top 10 through Club before making his move stick a lap later at Stowe.
Back with the top three, Monras was looking untouchable while Bratt's chances of securing a double podium this weekend quickly evaporated when he was handed a drive-through penalty for having four wheels off the track. After failing to notice the pit board he was subsequently shown a black flag, ending an otherwise promising weekend for the 23-year-old.
A few laps later Monras took the checkered flag for his maiden F2 win in only his second ever race and by a margin of more than seven seconds. Speaking afterwards the Spaniard said: "First of all, I knew I had to make a good start if I wanted to win the race. Yesterday it was not the case and I struggled a little bit; today it was better, a lot easier. I saw they were fighting a little bit behind on the first lap so I managed to pull a little gap, and after that I pushed and pushed. I knew it was important to get some good laps early on and build a gap until the end and that's what I did."
Bortolotti, who now leads the drivers' standings, crossed the line third but was promoted to second along with Zanella in third, Hegewald in fourth and Mihai Marinescu rounding out the top five.
Behind them Jack Clarke had a relatively quiet drive to sixth ahead of series returnees Armaan Ebrahim and Kelvin Snoeks and newcomer Mikkel Mac. Benjamin Lariche rounded out the top ten, having passed Tom Gladdis on the final lap of the race.
Race 2 Top-10:
1. Miki Monras, 21 laps
2. Mirko Bortolotti, +10.668s
3. Christopher Zanella, +14.907s
4. Tobias Hegewald, +16.873s
5. Mihai Marinescu, +21.753s
6. Jack Clarke, +26.801s
7. Armaan Ebrahim, +33.573s
8. Kelvin Snoeks, +37.573s
9. Mikkel Mac, +39.127s
10. Benjamin Lariche, +49.281s