A Monza weekend that had been looking like it would be a frustrating grind was transformed into podium celebrations on Sunday after a brilliant drive by Stefeno Coletti in the sprint race.

A difficult qualifying session on Friday had left the Racing Engineering driver starting from 12th place on the grid, and he lost out on the sprint race pole when Jolyon Palmer passed him for eighth place late in the Saturday feature event.

That left him starting from a frustrating ninth place on the grid on Sunday, but the 25-year-old Monegasque got a good launch off the line helped by the disruption caused by Stoffel Vandoorne stalling when the lights went out, and by the end of the first lap he was up to sixth when the safety car was deployed for an accident on the backstraight.

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"I did a really good start, was sixth by the first corner, and a great restart where I took two cars at the first corner, and step-by-step made my way through the grid," he said.

He was soon able to get the better of pole sitter Marco Sorensen for third place in one of the overtaking moves of the season and it was only a matter of minutes before Stephane Richelmi was dispatched as well, leaving Coletti able to set his sights on tracking down race leader Palmer.

"It was an amazing race, my car was very, very quick, especially under braking and that's why I out-braked everyone into the first turn.

"It was a really fun race today," he told the GP2 Media Service at the post-race press conference. "A lot of overtaking, and I was able to overtake which was a good thing, because sometimes it's frustrating when you're quicker but you can't overtake, but today was the opposite: as soon as I arrived with someone I was able to brake later and overtake them, so I was very happy about that, and very excited!

"I pushed really, really hard all race long to catch up, but when I saw towards the end that I wasn't catching up enough per lap, I settled for second," he continued. "The team did a really good job, they gave me a really good car today, so thank to them, and I hope this won't be my last podium this season."

Racing Engineering's sporting director Thomas Couyotopoulo was delighted with Coletti's performance at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza on Sunday.

"Great race and results from Stefano today," he said. "Starting from P9 taking the fastest lap and finishing in P2 is a good achievement. The start was good, the pace was great throughout the entire race and the overtaking manoeuvres of Stefano were clean and impressive."

Unfortunately for the team, Raffaele Marciello had a more stormy time of it this weekend. Having suffered from a poor start in the feature race and then getting caught up in other people's accidents at the first chicane, Marciello was left with a mountain to climb on Sunday from 25th place on the grid. Even so, he'd managed to pass a number of cars including Simon Trummer, Daniel Abt, Daniel de Jong, Artem Markelov and Takuya Izawa on the first lap before the safety car came out for an accident on the backstretch.

After the restart, Marciello was continued his forward momentum until Trident's Sergio Canamasas made contact and left him with a puncture obliging him to limp back to pit road for service which left him a lap off the leaders for the rest of the race. Canamasas was subsequently black flagged from the race after the collision.

"When I was on the inside of Lesmo 1, Canamasas crashed into me all of the sudden. As a consequence I had a punctured tyre and but when back on track after a tyre change I felt that something more on my car must have been broken," sighed the 19-year-old Italian racer.

"Pity about Lello, who had a good recovery up to P13 from 25th on the grid," noted Couyotopoulo. "The contact with Canamasas put an early end to his chances of finishing in the points.

"Overall not the weekend we were hoping for, but at least we were able to show what our cars are capable of."