Sergey Sirotkin has claimed his first win in the GP2 Series in a thrilling race ahead of Alexander Rossi and Stoffel Vandoorne, giving the Rapax team its first win since 2013.
Pole-sitter Sirotkin didn’t enjoy a great start after he lost his first position to Richie Stanaway, who made a blistering start from third by squeezing through Sirotkin and Vandoorne to take the lead of the race.
Vandoorne dropped down to fourth while his teammate Nobuharu Matsushita also benefited from a great start after choosing to start the race on the softer Medium compound Pirelli tyre. He made his way up to second position until an unfortunate mechanical failure saw him exit the race on Lap 7.
The Safety Car was brought out on the opening lap when Artem Markelov made contact with Nathanaël Berthon, spinning the Frenchman around and causing him to retire. Markelov continued, although he accumulated two penalties. The Russian received a 10-second time penalty for the incident with Berthon, and then a 10-second stop-go penalty for failing to observe yellow flag conditions.
His Russian Time teammate Mitch Evans made up a lot of ground after a torrid qualifying session yesterday, climbing nine places in the opening nine laps before more bad luck struck the Kiwi. Evans’ headrest flew off at the end of the Hangar straight and he was forced to retire his car.
At the halfway point of the race Rossi had been hounding Vandoorne for third since the third lap, while Vandoorne was busy trying to pass Stanaway for second. The fight for second played right into the hands of Sirotkin who was able to pull a gap of 5.5 seconds to the rest of the field.
Rossi finally passed Vandoorne on Lap 17 and then made quick work of Stanaway to put himself into second position. The American then demonstrated his pace by immediately creating a gap of 1.2 seconds to the chasing pair.
A lap later both Vandoorne and Stanaway pitted just after the former had finally overtaken the latter. A quicker stop for Vandoorne saw him re-join the track a few cars ahead of Stanaway, who was stuck in between the midfield runners who were yet to pit.
Stanaway’s promising race came to an end with seven laps remaining as a right rear suspension failure forced him to retire.
Vandoorne was faced with passing both Jordan King and Nick Yelloly, who were running a different strategy and had pitted on Lap 8.
Rossi pitted a lap after Vandoorne while Sirotkin covered Rossi pitting with eight laps left to run.
The gap from Sirotkin to Rossi was over six seconds, so the battle was left for Vandoorne to challenge King for third. King put up a respectable challenge, but with older tyres was unable to keep the ART driver behind.
King was then forced to defend fourth position against the DAMS pair of Pierre Gasly and Alex Lynn. Both drivers were able to pass King simultaneously on the penultimate lap.
On the final lap of the race with one corner left, King was spun from sixth by Arthur Pic. This gifted provisional reverse grid pole to Yelloly who had just been passed by Raffaele Marciello on the last lap. The incident was investigated by the stewards, who ruled Pic to be at fault, handing the Frenchman a 20-second time penalty that dropped him from sixth to fourteenth.
GP2 Series debutante Oliver Rowland was also hit with a post-race time penalty, having five seconds added to his finishing time for multiple breaches of the track limits by running wide at Copse. The Englishman was demoted from ninth to tenth place as a result.
The post-race penalties for the pair saw Raffaele Marciello, Nick Yelloly, Rio Haryanto, and Julián Leal all move up places as a result, with eighth-placed Haryanto thus inheriting pole position for Sunday’s reversed-grid Sprint Race.
|2015 GP2 Series Britain – Feature Race Final Classification (29 laps)|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Laps||Result|
|2.||Alexander Rossi||Racing Engineering||29||+ 5.989|
|3.||Stoffel Vandoorne||ART Grand Prix||29||+ 13.566|
|4.||Pierre Gasly||DAMS||29||+ 16.729|
|5.||Alex Lynn||DAMS||29||+ 20.546|
|6.||Raffaele Marciello||Trident||29||+ 23.550|
|7.||Nick Yelloly||Hilmer Motorsport||29||+ 23.879|
|8.||Rio Haryanto||Campos Racing||29||+ 25.437|
|9.||Julián Leal||Carlin||29||+ 28.753|
|10.||Oliver Rowland*||MP Motorsport||29||+ 30.161|
|11.||Daniël de Jong||MP Motorsport||29||+ 30.373|
|12.||Robert Vișoiu||Rapax||29||+ 36.922|
|13.||Johnny Cecotto Jr||Carlin||29||+ 37.436|
|14.||Arthur Pic*||Campos Racing||29||+ 42.922|
|15.||Sergio Canamasas||Daiko Team Lazarus||29||+ 44.277|
|16.||Jon Lancaster||Hilmer Motorsport||29||+ 49.850|
|17.||René Binder||Trident||29||+ 53.663|
|18.||Norman Nato||Arden International||29||+ 57.444|
|19.||Marlon Stöckinger||Status Grand Prix||29||+ 1:00.687|
|20.||André Negrão||Arden International||29||+ 1:04.399|
|21.||Artem Markelov||Russian Time||29||+ 1:26.692|
|22.||Jordan King||Racing Engineering||28||Collision|
|Not Classified||Team / Entry||Laps||Result|
|DNF.||Richie Stanaway||Status Grand Prix||22||Suspension|
|DNF.||Mitch Evans||Russian Time||9||Headrest|
|DNF.||Nobuharu Matsushita||ART Grand Prix||6||Mechanical|
|DNF.||Nathanaël Berthon||Daiko Team Lazarus||0||Collision|
* Oliver Rowland (originally classified ninth) was awarded a 5-second post-race time penalty for persistently exceeding the track limits. Arthur Pic (originally classified sixth) was awarded a drive-through penalty, applied post-race as a 20-second time penalty, for causing a collision with Jordan King.
Image via GP2 Series Media
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