Liam Lawson salvaged a ninth-place finish in the opening Formula 2 race at Monaco, while a daring lunge from Marcus Armstrong on the final lap sealed him pole for race two.
The Kiwi duo lined up 12th and 14th after a challenging qualifying session yesterday.
However, a solid first tour had both drivers move up two places.
A mistake from Robert Shwartzman had the Russian collide with the outside wall at turn three, putting paid to a potential top-five result.
Given Monaco’s narrow confinement, overtaking is a rarity and requires significant courage.
With still two more races for the weekend, most of the field followed one another for most of the race.
Polesitter Guanyu Zhou had established a healthy lead over Christian Lundgaard and was en route to a commanding victory.
Sitting comfortably in second, Lundgaard’s race quickly turned on its head while smoke began to billow from his exhaust.
The Dane spent two laps ambling around the Monaco circuit before peeling off the road at Mirabeau.
Lundgaard’s misfortune elevated Lawson to ninth and Armstrong to 11th.
A late safety car brought out due to Gianluca Petecof careening into the Armco barrier at the Swimming Pool, then bunched up the pack.
Zhou, who was now leading Uni Virtuosi teammate Felipe Drugovich, had his lead diminished, while Armstrong closed up on Jehan Daruvala, who was in tenth.
Finishing tenth would guarantee Armstrong pole for Saturday’s reverse top-ten race, meaning he had little to lose as the race was restarted with three laps in hand.
Just ahead, Lawson pressured Oscar Piastri but could not manage an overtake on his ex-Formula 3 rival.
Zhou took the chequered flag 2.3s up the road from Drugovich. The Chinese driver has now won the last two F2 races and extends his championship lead.
Armstrong had closed to within three-tenths of Daruvala as he entered the final half of the last lap.
The Kiwi launched himself up the inside of the Carlin driver at La Rascasse, squeezing himself ahead and snatching tenth.
While Lawson and Armstrong leave race one without troubling the scorers, both will now start race two from the front row.
Race two for the F2 paddock starts at 6.20 pm NZT, Saturday, May 22.
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