GP2 rookie driver Richie Stanaway claimed his maiden GP2 win in just his third weekend in the feeder series, the New Zealander taking advantage of a poor start from pole sitter Raffaele Marciello to jump straight into the lead when the lights went out at Monaco.

It's also the maiden win in the championship for the Status Grand Prix team, which took over the entry formerly held by Caterham Racing until the end of the 2014 season. Russian prot?g? Sergey Sirotkin also succeeded in clinching his first podium position since stepping up from the Formula Renault 3.5 Series.

CLICK: Full GP2 sprint race 2 results from Monaco.CLICK: Full GP2 driver and team championship standings after Monaco

Following the shenanigans at the start of the Friday morning GP2 feature race, everyone was hoping for a more orderly start to the Saturday afternoon sprint proceedings. Despite the occasional drops of rain that had been present in the air since the end of F1 qualifying an hour earlier, the signs were initially good as GP3 graduate Stanaway immediately got the jump on Marciello's slow-starting Trident off the line to take the lead into Sainte Devote.

For the second sprint race in a row, Mitch Evans had failed to even make it as far as the formation grid after his Russian Time crawled to a halt halfway around the 2.075-mile, 19-turn street circuit. Also having a rough start to the race was Marco Sorensen who stalled on the formation grid; he was able to get back underway but was then given a ten second penalty for having Carlin mechanics attend to him after the 15-seconds-to-go signal had sounded. ART's Nobuharu Matsushita was also in line for a long afternoon at the back of the field after being forced to start from the pit lane as a penalty for causing a collision in the feature race.

It was only a matter of time - seconds, really - before the clean start gave away to the first batch of retirements of the race as the twists and turns of Monaco claimed their first victims of the afternoon. The first came when Johnny Ceotto Jr's Hilmer Motorsports car squeezed the Lazarus of Zo?l Amberg into the Armco barrier in the first run through Beau Rivage to put both cars out of the race. Then seconds later there was another victim in the casino hairpin when a three-wide crush between Norman Nato (Arden), Rio Haryanto (Campos Racing) and Rene Binder (Trident) ended up with Nato bumping Haryanto into the wall, resulting in a brief virtual safety car while the Indonesian driver's defunct car was craned away. Nato survived the encounter but had to put for repairs, and then had a ten second penalty for causing the collision - his second of the weekend - to rub further salt into the wound.

When things got back underway, Stanaway quickly pulled away again from Marciello at the front, the pair followed by Sergey Sirotkin (Rapax) while Julian Leal (Carlin) battled to stay ahead of a feisty Sergio Canamasas (MP Motorsport). Arthur Pic (Campos Racing), Alexander Rossi (Racing Engineering) and Stoffel Vandoorne (ART) were running in their original grid positions in sixth, seventh and eighth respectively.

Showing that his opportunistic feature race overtaking move on Pic the previous day had been no fluke, the Spaniard repeated it with similarly impressive results to take fourth place from Leal through Sainte Devote at the start of lap 7. Unfortunately he was pretty much the only one to find overtaking room on the track, and the race settled down into something of a procession with everyone locked in place. Artem Markelov did make a valiant bid to throw his Russian Time car down the inside of Binder at Rascasse for 15th place to briefly liven things up, but even when Binder made a subsequent mistake and ran wide in Massenet, Markelov was still unable to get around the Trident before the Austrian driver was able to gather it up again and firmly shut the door on his pursuer.

By the midway point of the 30-lap race, Stanaway's lead over Marciello was up to three seconds causing his team to caution him about possible tyre degradation if he continued to push that hard. Further back, Friday's feature winner Vandoorne was having no joy whatsoever in his efforts to find his way around Rossi to improve on eighth position, and was instead amusing himself by trying to get the extra bonus point for setting the fastest lap of the race by a top ten runner, which eventually he did with a time of 1:21.926s.

Jordan King hadn't given up hopes of passing Pierre Gasly for tenth place, but King was getting increasingly frustrated at what he saw as the French driver's blocking tactics. Finally he had a run coming out of the tunnel, but Gasly was slower than King was expecting and there was tyre-on-tyre contact, the front left of the Racing Engineering getting dramatically launched up into the air off the back right of the DAMS. King ended up in the run-off area, unhurt but winded and his car looking distinctly crumpled, while Gasly was able to continue. The race stewards later handed King a three-place grid penalty for the next feature race in Austria after concluding that that the Briton had misjudged his overtaking manoeuvre.

The end was indeed nigh in any case, and it turned out that Stanaway was not remotely troubled by tyre degradation as he eased his lead down to a handy two seconds as he crossed the line - although a flamboyant final back-end flick through Anthony Noges on this way to the chequered flag was nearly very costly. It certainly got the heart pumping even faster as he celebrated his maiden victory, which could scarcely have come at anywhere better than the prestigious and magical streets of Monaco.

By comparison Marciello looked rather disappointed with second, clearly annoyed with himself for the poor start that meant he missed out on the chance of what would have been his second GP2 win after his first visit to the top of the podium last year at Spa-Francorchamps. Any lack of enthusiasm on the Italian's part was more than compensated for by a delighted Sirotkin who had run a solid and unchallenged race to third place ahead of Canamasas, Leal, Pic, Rossi and Vandoorne.

Although the Belgian had had a subdued Saturday and added only two points to his GP2 drivers championship tally, the Friday feature win means that Vandoorne's lead in the standings is now up to 44 points ahead of Rossi in second place, the American in turn now having built up a comfortable 21 point lead over Haryanto. The next eight drivers - Evans, Alex Lynn, Marciello, Leal, Canamasas, Stanaway, Sirotkin and Pic - are covered by just nine points. In the team championship, ART is on 121 points compared to 84 for Racing Engineering, 68 for Campos Racing and 41 for reigning champions DAMS.

In the final moments, Markelov did manage to finally find his way around Binder at last, and even picked up an extra place from Lazarus' Nathanael Berthon to finish in 14th place. It might be well outside the points-paying positions, but to a true racer that's not what matters - especially not when seeking to prove oneself on such an important and historic circuit.

It's just as well that after the excitement of competing on such a world-famous stage, the drivers and teams now have a few weeks to get their breath back and adrenalin levels down again. With F1 flying off to Canada, the GP2 series takes a month off before its next round at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria on June 19-21.

See full GP2 sprint race 2 results from Monaco.See full GP2 driver and team championship standings after Monaco



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