Last lap heroics and heartbreak for Marcus in Monaco
Marcus Armstrong was robbed of possible maiden 2021 FIA Formula 2 victory in a dramatic weekend at Monaco. Marcus’ first visit to Monaco featured a pole position secured by a bold last-lap overtake but he was unable to convert that into a victory challenge when he stopped on the way to the grid.
The famous Monaco venue hosted the second round of the 2021 F2 season, and its tight and twisty corners make it one of the hardest circuits on the calendar.
A solid start
Despite not racing on a street circuit since 2019, Marcus soon got up to speed during Thursday’s 45-minute practice session. He posted the eighth fastest time. The Ferrari Driver Academy protégé was unable to replicate that pace later on Thursday in qualifying and ended up 14th on the grid for the first reverse-grid sprint race and Saturday’s feature race.
Stunning last-lap move secures pole position
Marcus made a flying start during the opening lap of the first reverse-grid sprint race to move up to 12th place. At the halfway stage of the 30-lap race, that became 11th place for Marcus when Christian Lundgaard’s car expired. This left him just behind 10th-place Jehan Daruvala, who held the reverse-grid pole for the second race of the weekend.
Overtaking was at a premium during the first race with the majority of drivers running in formation for the entirety of the race. The field was closed up by a late safety car period, leaving a three-lap sprint to the end. Marcus defied the odds to launch his DAMS-run car up the inside of Daruvala into Rascasse on the very final lap. He bravely maneuvered his way alongside Daruvala and he pulled clear on the exit of the final corner to secure 10th place and pole for sprint race two.
Reflecting on the opening race, Marcus said:
“It was a tough race because you can’t do much overtaking. When everyone was boxed up like that because of the safety car, I saw an opportunity on the last lap and went for it. That’s the maximum that was possible.”
Heartbreak denies Marcus a victory shot
Marcus was cruelly denied a chance to convert pole into a maiden F2 victory with a problem on the way to the grid at the same spot that he made his stunning race one overtake. He was forced to start from the pitlane and another issue ended his race after just three laps, ending his fight back.
The 42-lap feature race closed out the weekend, and Marcus had charged from 14th on the grid into the points-paying positions and held the fastest lap of the race. However, his race was prematurely ended on lap 29 when he was forced into the wall. Juri Vips picked up a penalty for the incident, but that came as little consolation for Marcus who was once again denied a points finish.
Marcus will look to fight back FIA Formal 2 returns on June 4th in Baku.