Aaro Vainio claimed his first GP3 victory on the category's debut in Monaco to take the lead in the championship.
The Finn, driving for the ART-run Lotus GP team, converted his pole position into the lead at the start. He extended his margin over Atech CRS driver Tamas Pal Kiss, who jumped front-row starter Kevin Ceccon (Ocean) off the grid, to 3.6 seconds by the end of lap six and looked on course for a comfortable victory.
Pal Kiss then mounted an attack, reeling off several fastest laps to close the gap to under 2.5 seconds by the end of lap 10. But that was as close as he got during this mid-race pursuit and Vainio was able to close out his win comfortably, easing off markedly on the final lap and winning by 1.9sec.
It was a typically processional Monaco race, with the top 13 not changing between the end of the first and the final laps. Ceccon, who set fastest lap on the final tour, had a lonely run to third ahead of David Fumanelli, who had to resist the advances of MW Arden teammate Mitch Evans in the early stages.
Lotus driver Daniel Abt finished sixth despite pressure from Antonio Felix da Costa (Carlin), while behind them Marlon Stockinger bagged pole position for Saturday's reversed grid race by finishing eighth in his Status entry.
Alex Brundle, son of 1994 Monaco Grand Prix runner-up Martin, finished 10th for Carlin, while Conor Daly (Lotus), a winner on the opening weekend of the GP3 season, was classified 23rd after a jump-start penalty compounded a disastrous getaway that had already left him near the back at the end of the opening lap.
Results - 18 laps:
Pos Driver Team Time/Gap
1. Aaro Vainio Lotus 27m06.685s
2. Tamas Pal Kiss Atech CRS + 1.994s
3. Kevin Ceccon Ocean + 10.519s
4. David Fumanelli MW Arden + 16.156s
5. Mitch Evans MW Arden + 17.789s
6. Daniel Abt Lotus + 18.169s
7. Antonio Felix da Costa Carlin + 18.548s
8. Marlon Stockinger Status + 20.440s
9. Tio Ellinas Manor + 20.733s
10. Alex Brundle Carlin + 25.083s
11. Alice Powell Status + 26.084s
12. Will Buller Carlin + 29.591s
13. Kotaro Sakurai Status + 31.319s
14. Robert Visoiu Jenzer + 31.612s
15. Fabiano Machado Manor + 34.249s
16. Dimitry Suranovich Manor + 34.851s
17. John Wartique Atech CRS + 47.648s
18. Robert Cregan Ocean + 57.033s
19. Vicky Piria Trident + 59.726s
20. Antonio Spavone Trident + 1m00.765s
21. Matias Laine MW Arden + 1m02.454s
22. Jakub Klasterka Jenzer + 1m03.565s
23. Conor Daly Lotus 17 laps
Patric Niederhauser Jenzer 8 laps
Ethan Ringel Atech CRS 8 laps
Carmen Jorda Ocean 5 laps