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.

Vandoor outdragged polesitter Jolyon Palmer off the line and was never seriously headed en route to victory

Vandoor outdragged polesitter Jolyon Palmer off the line and was never seriously headed en route to victory

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
  Not Classified        
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

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Josh Kruse

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