McLaren development driver Stoffel Vandoorne has made the perfect start to his GP2 career by taking out the first Feature Race of 2014 GP2 Series in Bahrain. It’s worth noting that Vandoorne also secured a victory in his first race for Formula Renault 3.5 last year.
Vandoorne, who qualified second, took advantage of a slow starting Jolyon Palmer and lead from turn one to finish 1.5s ahead of Julián Leal. Palmer recovered from his poor start to finish in third, just ahead of Stefano Coletti.
There was action right from the get go as Simon Trummer stalled his car on the grid moments before the warm-up lap and had to start the race from pit lane.
A few laps into the race and the first shunt of the year was caused by Kimiya Sato, who rammed up the rear of Axcil Jefferies causing him to retire and Sato to earn himself a 10 second stop-go penalty.
Once the safety car had completed a few laps while the marshals cleared the track, a dash to the pits from Stéphane Richelmi, Stefano Coletti, Rio Haryanto and Felipe Nasr saw them discard their soft tyres for hards for the remainder of the race.
Rafaele Marciello was handed a drive-through penalty for speeding the pit lane, while Johnny Cecotto Jr also picked up his first penalty of the year, not for pushing Felipe Nasr wide on lap eight, but for overtaking while exceeding the track limits. The stewards concluded that a drive through was most appropriate for his actions.
Arthur Pic continued to impress the paddock this weekend, managing to finish in fifth position from starting ninth on the grid, earning his first championship points. Also finishing well was Takuya Izawa, who finished one spot further behind after starting his race towards the rear of the field.
Evans, Rossi and Richelmi had races to forget as they finished at the wrong end of the field.
Palmer pocketed an extra two championship points with the fastest lap of the race. Sunday’s Sprint race will see the top eight finishers’ reversed on the starting grid, meaning Felipe Nasr will start from pole position.
2014 GP2 Series Race of Bahrain – Feature Race Result (32 laps):
|Driver||Team / Entry||Laps||Result|
|1.||Stoffel Vandoorne||ART Grand Prix||32||59:57.411|
|2.||Julián Leal||Carlin Motorsport||32||+ 1.551|
|3.||Jolyon Palmer||DAMS||32||+ 5.880|
|4.||Stefano Coletti||Racing Engineering||32||+ 6.317|
|5.||Arthur Pic||Campos Racing||32||+ 15.100|
|6.||Takuya Izawa||ART Grand Prix||32||+ 21.729|
|7.||Simon Trummer||Rapax Team||32||+ 21.979|
|8.||Felipe Nasr||Carlin Motorsport||32||+ 24.425|
|9.||René Binder||Arden International||32||+ 24.861|
|10.||Andrew Quaife-Hobbs||Rapax Team||32||+ 26.194|
|11.||Daniël de Jong||MP Motorsport||32||+ 27.034|
|12.||Conor Daly||Venezuela GP Lazarus||32||+ 31.931|
|13.||Daniel Abt||Hilmer Motorsport||32||+ 36.231|
|14.||Mitch Evans||RT Russian Time||32||+ 36.997|
|15.||Artem Markelov||RT Russian Time||32||+ 41.030|
|16.||Rio Haryanto||EQ8 Caterham Racing||32||+ 41.714|
|17.||Jon Lancaster||MP Motorsport||32||+ 42.412|
|18.||Raffaele Marciello||Racing Engineering||32||+ 46.849|
|19.||Stéphane Richelmi||DAMS||32||+ 49.656|
|20.||André Negrão||Arden International||32||+ 1:02.346|
|21.||Johnny Cecotto Jr||Trident Racing||32||+ 1:13.454|
|22.||Alexander Rossi||EQ8 Caterham Racing||32||+ 1:34.560|
|23.||Nathanaël Berthon||Venezuela GP Lazarus||30||Mechanical|
|DNF.||Kimiya Sato||Campos Racing||27||Mechanical|
|DNF.||Axcil Jefferies||Trident Racing||2||Collision|
|DNF.||Facu Regalia||Hilmer Motorsport||0||Mechanical|
Image via GP2 Media Service