Vainio claims maiden victory in Monte Carlo
25 May 2012 – Shortly after Johnny Cecotto Jr. celebrated his first GP2 win on the streets of Monte Carlo, another Formula 1 feeder series was welcoming a maiden victor on Friday afternoon. On this occasion, it was Finland’s Aaro Vainio winning for Lotus in GP3, sharing the podium with Tamás Pál Kiss and Kevin Ceccon.
Most of the drivers in the field had not turned a wheel at Monaco before this weekend, making for great excitement in the paddock as the red lights went out. From pole, Vainio pulled away well to defend his lead, with Pál Kiss passing Ceccon for second place on the run to Sainte Devote. Behind, Conor Daly bogged down from eighth and was miraculously not hit by the rest of the pack.
Vainio headed the field by just over a second at the end of Lap 1. Further back, erstwhile championship leader Mitch Evans had lost fourth position to David Fumanelli overtook; despite the New Zealander’s race-long best efforts, he was unable to snatch the place back from his MW Arden team-mate.
Just behind, António Félix da Costa also attempted every possible move on Daniel Abt for sixth, but the nature of Monaco prevented a change there too.
Although the GP3 field has enjoyed a generally clean weekend, the Armco did claim a victim as Ethan Ringer hit the barrier coming out Sainte Devote, ending his race instantly. In the middle of the pack, a fantastic battle saw several drivers dicing around the narrow streets, one of which was Britain’s Alex Brundle who finished tenth.
Vainio’s impressive win is not only his first of the season, but extends the championship lead for the 18-year-old hailing from Espoo – the same Finnish city as former World Champion Kimi Räikkönen - to 18 points over Evans. Marlon Stöckinger finished eighth, meaning the Filipino-Swiss racer starts from pole on Saturday.
Race 2 begins at 5:55pm local time (BST +1) on Saturday