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pic 22/05/15 Alexander Rossi takes second in today’s Monaco Feature Race.

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After yesterday’s exciting, and wet, qualifying session Alexander was starting today’s 42 lap Feature Race from pole position whilst Jordan, who had driven really well in very difficult conditions on his first visit to Monte Carlo, was on the fourth row of the grid in 8th position. Today’s weather was sunny and warm with air and track temperatures of 19° and 28° respectively. Alexander was starting on the Pirelli P Zero Yellow soft compound whilst Jordan had the P Zero Red supersoft tyres fitted.

The first start had to be aborted when a car stalled on the grid meaning an extra formation lap reducing the race to 40 laps. On the second start all the cars got away cleanly but Alexander lost a place to Marciello who had the advantage of the extra grip of the supersoft tyres but the Racing Engineering car was soon lapping at a similar place to the Trident car and after five laps the gap was just 1.5 seconds with Pic 1.3 seconds behind in 3rd. Within two laps Alexander had closed the gap to just 0.2 seconds as his harder tyres now gave him an advantage and Marciello was now holding up the cars behind. On lap 8 the Trident car pitted putting Alexander into the lead and the young American was now battling Vandoorne in second place and on lap eleven the gap was just one second.

The fight between the two leaders continued for ten laps with the gap at just less than one second until a collision between two cars saw a Virtual Safety Car on lap 19. Both men took their mandatory pitstop on lap 20 but Vandoorne was able to take the lead as the cars exited the pitlane dropping Alexander to second. Lap 22 saw another Virtual Safety Car period following debris on the track and the gap between the two leaders was less than a second but both men were having to try not to put too much strain on their supersoft tyres with twelve laps still remaining but Leal was over thirteen seconds away in 3rd making their task a little easier. With seven laps remaining Alexander dropped away a little to reduce the strain on his tyres but with both men suffering from tyre degradation he had to settle for 2nd at the chequered flag.

Jordan made a very good start passing Leal at the start and then Sirotkin into Ste Devote to be 5th on the second lap.  The young Briton soon found his supersoft tyres degrading badly and he took his mandatory pitstop on lap seven resuming in 13th place. By lap 12 Jordan was having a lonely race in 12th, eight seconds behind Marciello and thirteen seconds ahead of Binder. Two retirements saw the Racing Engineering car promoted to 10th on lap twenty four and he was now chasing Yelloly who was six seconds ahead and by lap twenty eight the gap was down to 2.3 seconds. Jordan was rapidly closing the gap and it was down to 0.7 seconds three laps later and on lap 31 he passed the Hilmer car for 9th and the following lap saw him set his fastest lap of the race as his next target was Marciello 6.8 seconds ahead. Jordan continued to press over the remaining laps and he closed the gap to 4.5 seconds but he had to settle for 9th at the flag.

Tomorrow’s Sprint Race will see Alexander starting 7th on the reversed grid with Jordan just behind in 9th and, given the difficulty of overtaking, both men will be looking to score as many points as possible.
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Team Comments:

Thomas Lassus, Race Engineer: “Marciello had a better start on options and we expected this to happen but we quickly saw his tyres degrading and our strategy started to work. When he pitted, Alexander was in free air and managed his tyres well saying there with potential for pushing even more but the race was decided around lap 20 when the Virtual Safety Car was deployed. Alexander pitted within the previously defined pitstop window, which allowed us to keep our position on Pic. Things seemed to work well, but traffic in the pitlane and time lost as the team before us got ready to pit as well meant an advantage for Vandoorne. He passed Alexander, who then tried to put him under pressure but overtaking in Monaco is difficult and the result was done from there on. It's disappointing when starting from pole, but we continue to improve and the win will come. Jordan, on the other hand, had a good start and his strategy worked well. He was effectively in P6 when the Virtual Safety Car resulted in a time advantage for the cars starting on primes. He lost several positions and for sure a top 8 finish. However it was still nice to see him fighting all race long, overtaking at the chicane out of the tunnel and having really good pace throughout the race.”

Jordan King: “It was a very good race with a good start and very good opening laps, I was up in 5th. Then our strategy worked very well and we were heading towards a net top 5 position but the Virtual Safety Car came into play which hampered us a bit and I ended up in P9, without that it was a very good race.”

Alexander Rossi:: “My start was fine but I was not able to keep a car on super-soft tyres behind. I knew Marciello would have to pit soon and once he did I was able to go at my pace which was good and we were looking after the tyres. When the Virtual Safety Car came out we had to pit for the option tyres earlier than we wanted. Unfortunately, the team before us in the pitlane was preparing for their pitstop as well and compromised my entry into my spot by a lot. This is why Stoffel jumped us in the pitlane and from there I tried to put pressure on him. But this being Monaco, there was no way to pass and DRS didn't work either at this stage of the race. Big points again, but it's disappointing not to win when you start from pole position.”
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