Antonio Giovinazzi helped his team PREMA Racing to the teams’ title of the 2016 GP2 season with a sensational victory, while his team mate and title rival suffered a woeful race that saw him lose his championship lead to Giovinazzi,
The PREMA pair started from the front row with Gasly on pole, however, neither managed a good start with Gasly’s particularly dreadful. This allowed Raffaele Marciello into the lead on the run down to Turn 1. The Russian Time driver, however, slid wide into Turn 1 which allowed Giovinazzi into the lead and his attempt to regain P1 into Turn 5 saw him drift off-line, allowing ART’s Sergey Sirotkin into second.
Giovinazzi led the Option/Prime runners with Sirotkin running a similar strategy. The Russian, however, pitted three laps earlier and posted very quick laps before the leader pitted. This allowed Sirotkin to take the lead one second ahead of Giovinazzi but the early pit stop meant he would suffer more from tyre degradation towards the end of the race.
With three laps to go, Giovinazzi closed in on Sirotkin and took the lead into Turn 2, quickly pulling away from the ART to take his fifth win of his rookie campaign and the championship lead with it. Sirotkin finished second, comfortably ahead of Norman Nato in third, The Frenchman sneaking through after Raffaele Marciello botched his pit stop.
Alex Lynn prevailed in a breathtaking scrap with Oliver Rowland to take fourth place after Rowland spun out at Turn 12, leaving him out of the points.
Jordan King took fifth ahead of Raffaele Marciello and Luca Ghiotto in sixth and seventh respectively. Ghiotto leading the Prime/Option charge from 11th on the grid to finish inside the points ahead of Mitch Evans and Gustav Malja who adopted the same approach to come home ninth and tenth.
Pole sitter Pierre Gasly’s start left him struggling in the midfield and was only able to take 11th, beating Oliver Rowland to the finish line by just 0.012s. No points meant the Frenchman’s championship lead evaporated and with just three races to go, the Red Bull junior now trails his rookie team mate by 11 points.
The sprint race starts Sunday at 11:20 local time (GMT +8)
Image via GP2 Series Media