Mitch Evans continued on his strong weekend to win the Bahrain Sprint Race ahead of Stoffel Vandoorne and Alex Lynn.
The Kiwi started the race in fifth position and quickly moved up to third place after there was contact between Rio Haryanto and Nobuharu Matsushita.
Haryanto approached the first turn in second position as Lynn had made a clean start and held onto his lead, while a blistering start from Matsushita catapulted the ART driver into a brief second position. However, Matsushita turned into the corner too early and collected Haryanto’s front wing, which spun the Japanese racer and caused many drivers behind to take evasive action.
Pierre Gasly and Jordan King were two of the unlucky drivers to have gotten caught up in the Turn One tangle which saw both drivers run off the track to avoid making any contact.
A few corners later and the safety car was called to the circuit after Oliver Rowland ploughed his Status car into the back of Rene Binder’s MP Motorsport.
Vandoorne, who had made up six places from the start and was into second position, followed Lynn closely upon the safety car restart. Lynn wasn’t prepared to let the GP2 champion get anywhere near his DAMS machine, and set off to create a one-second buffer and escape the DRS range.
The Belgian driver then fell into the clutches of Evans, who despite not expecting Bahrain to hold good fortunes for Russian Time this weekend, was hot on Vandoorne’s heels.
Evans then made a move stick on Vandoorne on the sixth lap of the race, while further back in the field Gasly and a lowly starting Alexander Rossi were making their way through the pack and were up into 10th and 11th position respectively after they both easily disposed of Nicholas Latifi’s MP Motorsport.
Latifi had been running as high as fifth position at the safety car restart, but wasn’t able to keep up the pace and was down to 12th by lap 10.
Just over halfway through the race Evans had closed the gap to Lynn’s lead and was pressuring the Briton for the lead of the race. Evans almost got the move done on the 13th lap at Turn One, although Lynn had better cornering exit speed and retained first position.
The following lap Evans got the job done on Lynn and proceeded to create a gap of one second, as Lynn’s counter attack didn’t hold enough speed to seriously challenge Evans in the Russian Time.
Vandoorne sensed blood in the water and went after Lynn who was dropping off the pace, passing him three laps later on lap 17 to decide the podium.
The last of the points scorers shuffled in the final few laps with Nathaniel Berthon dropping down the order from fourth after chewing through his tyres. This left Raffaele Marciello, Sergey Sirotkin, King and Gasly to fight for the remaining few points. Sirotkin made a late dive on Marciello on the final lap to secure fourth position.
Images via GP2 Series Media