Cheltenham's Williams Racing junior Zak O’Sullivan masters the streets of Monte Carlo for a famous victory

Gloucestershire’s Zak O’Sullivan took a famous maiden Formula 2 win on the streets of Monaco after a dramatic conclusion to a weekend full of twists and turns. The 19-year-old Williams Racing junior, from Withington, near Cheltenham, played his strategy to perfection in Sunday’s feature race and held off Isack Hadjar on a thrilling final lap to take the flag at one of the most prestigious events in motorsport.

A great strategy call from Zak and his ART Grand Prix team, married to a slice of good fortune from a late-race virtual safety car (VSC), enabled him to come out on top. Starting 15th after a disappointing qualifying, Zak ran long on his first stint and gradually advanced through the order as all the leading runners pitted to cover each other’s stops.

In a race with relatively low tyre degradation, Zak was able to lap quickly and maintain a gap to the runners who had already pitted and was well-set to rejoin from his stop still well inside the points. However, fate dealt him a great hand when a clash between Joshua Duerksen and Zane Maloney brought out the VSC with two laps left, slowing the field to a crawl and enabling Zak to come into the pits, change tyres and re-join still in the lead.

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Once racing resumed, Zak held off a furious Hadjar on the last lap to take victory on the streets often called 'the jewel in the crown' of motorsport. This followed a strong run to 10th in Saturday’s sprint race, where Zak made up five places on his grid position.

Zak said: “I can’t quite believe it, this really wasn’t on the cards after qualifying. It means a huge amount to me and the team and I really hope this will be the start of a stronger set of results for us.

“The VSC helped me out at the end, but the pace was really strong regardless. I was able to look after the tyres throughout the race and up my pace as the cars in front of me pitted.

“I said before the weekend that the feature race was the most interesting one, you have to look after the car and tyres when you’re in traffic then push as hard as you can when you get clear track around the pitstop. That’s exactly how it turned out in the end.

“The last lap was pretty tense. I had new tyres on but getting them up to temperature is always a challenge in Formula 2 and Isack was right on my gearbox.

“To win in Monaco in this way is a huge reward for everyone. The start of the season hasn’t been easy and hopefully this shows our luck has turned. Sometimes when you roll the dice, it pays off.”

Next up for Zak after a four-week break are the Spanish rounds of the championship, held at the Barcelona circuit from June 21-23.