Alex Lynn put on a crushing display of speed and guile to claim his first feature race victory in scorching conditions this afternoon at the Hungaroring, leading for most of the race and picking the right tyre strategy to win ahead of DAMS teammate Pierre Gasly and Sergey Sirotkin.
The Williams test driver made great use of pole position, blasting away when the lights went out and taking an easy early lead as fellow front row starter Stoffel Vandoorne stuttered: Red Bull tester Gasly made a brilliant start from P5 to follow his teammate into turn one, while Arthur Pic and Raffaele Marciello went either side of the the McLaren man to follow the leaders through.
The Italian jumped the Frenchman next time by, just before a brief safety car period to recover Sergio Canamasas’ broken car, and the race was live for just two laps before the pitstops started for the soft compound drivers: Vandoorne was the first man in, followed by Julian Leal, but the series leader was judged to have been released unsafely and was handed a 5 second time penalty for his efforts, while out on track Lynn, Gasly, Marciello and Sirotkin were pulling away from their rivals.
With all eyes on the time gap between Lynn and Vandoorne the question was could they maintain a gap large enough to hold onto the lead? By the time the Briton came in on lap 23 it was clear that they hadn’t: Lynn emerged behind Pic in (effectively) P, but he had the advantage of fresh soft rubber and wasn’t going to hang around. Lynn slid past the battle between Pic and Alexander Rossi almost immediately, and easily claimed Haryanto a few laps later for what was effectively the lead, given Vandoorne’s penalty.
It wasn’t enough for the Briton: he blasted by Vandoorne with 5 laps remaining to lead on track, and with the other soft shod men coming the question was how would the Belgian hold them back? Haryanto wasn’t helping his cause – the Indonesian was looking for a way through all round the circuit – but Gasly sliced by them both on the penultimate lap for P2 behind his teammate, with Vandoorne third on track but dropped to P5 on the timesheets behind Sirotkin, who clattered his way past Haryanto at the second last corner, removing the Indonesian’s front wing in the process.
Jordan King had a solid race for P6, jumping Marciello on fresher rubber, with Nobuharu Matsushita, Robert Visiou and Daniel de Jong also taking advantage of stopping for softs late in the race. The result didn’t affect the top of the drivers’ championship substantially – Vandoorne now leads Rossi by 180 points to 105, with Haryanto on 103, Sirotkin on 93, Lynn on 85 and Gasly on 60 points – but there is plenty of scope for more to come in the sprint race tomorrow morning.
Japanese driver delights team with first victory – Sprint Race
Nobuharu Matsushita crushed the competition for his first GP2 victory this morning at the Hungaroring, easily claiming the win in a sprint race where everyone else struggled with their tyres in the cooler conditions to lead the first ART 1-2 since Sam Bird and Jules Bianchi in Monza 2010, ahead of teammate Stoffel Vandoorne and Sergey Sirotkin.
The Japanese driver took advantage of pole position to easily lead his rivals away when the lights went out with a good start, while McLaren tester Vandoorne and Sirotkin made sparkling getaways to run inside into turn one: the Belgian eased his way into P2 while the Russian was briefly held by Raffaele Marciello but got past the Italian around the outside with a lovely pass out of turn two.
With the rest of their rivals shaking out their positions behind them, including an impressive run from last on the grid to tenth by Sergio Canamasas in one lap, the leaders were swapping fastest laps as they looked to lay down a marker, but it wasn’t without a price: by lap nine the Belgian was already complaining of graining and was unable to run at his teammate’s pace.
It was clear that tyre management was the order of the day, but that didn’t stop Rio Haryanto pushing Marciello almost all race long: the Indonesian clearly had a better car but the Italian was hanging on around the tight, technical circuit. The Racing Engineering teammates were soon struggling too: Alexander Rossi had to come in for fresh tyres on lap 20 after losing a number of places, while Jordan King lost what looked to be a solid P7 around the same time.
And when the flag dropped it was Matsushita who had eased his way to victory, two seconds to the good over Vandoorne, who had to fight off a last lap challenge by Sirotkin for second. Marciello came out on top of Haryanto for the battle for fourth, while Pierre Gasly dropped from fifth to eighth with two laps remaining, losing out to Norman Nato and Robert Visoiu.
If Vandoorne was disappointed at missing the win to his teammate, he can take solace in an expanded lead in the drivers’ championship: the Belgian now leads Haryanto by 194 points to 109, while Rossi’s non-scoring weekend sees him stranded on 105 points, just ahead of Sirotkin on 103, with Alex Lynn on 85 points to Gasly’s 61, Marciello on 58 and Matsushita on 48. In the teams’ title ART Grand Prix have eased away from DAMS by 242 points to 146, with Racing Engineering on 131, Campos Racing on 130 and Rapax on 121 as the grid escapes for the summer break ahead of the next round at the fabled Spa Francorchamps circuit next month.
Feature Race Results
1 Alex Lynn DAMS
2 Pierre Gasly DAMS
3 Sergey Sirotkin Rapax
4 Rio Haryanto Campos Racing
5 Stoffel Vandoorne ART Grand Prix
6 Jordan King Racing Engineering
7 Raffaele Marciello Trident
8 Nobuharu Matsushita ART Grand Prix
9 Robert Visoiu Rapax
10 Daniel De Jong MP Motorsport
11 Norman Nato Arden International
12 Alexander Rossi Racing Engineering
13 Arthur Pic Campos Racing
14 Nathanaël Berthon Daiko Team Lazarus
15 Nicholas Latifi MP Motorsport
16 Julian Leal Carlin
17 Mitch Evans RUSSIAN TIME
18 Sean Gelael Carlin
19 Marlon Stockinger Status Grand Prix
20 André Negrao Arden International
21 Richie Stanaway Status Grand Prix
22 Artem Markelov RUSSIAN TIME
23 Rene Binder Trident
Sprint Race Results
1 Nobuharu Matsushita ART Grand Prix
2 Stoffel Vandoorne ART Grand Prix
3 Sergey Sirotkin Rapax
4 Raffaele Marciello Trident
5 Rio Haryanto Campos Racing
6 Norman Nato Arden International
7 Robert Visoiu Rapax
8 Pierre Gasly DAMS
9 Alex Lynn DAMS
10 Arthur Pic Campos Racing
11 Nathanaël Berthon Daiko Team Lazarus
12 Jordan King Racing Engineering
13 Richie Stanaway Status Grand Prix
14 Nicholas Latifi MP Motorsport
15 Julian Leal Carlin
16 Sergio Canamasas Hilmer Motorsport
17 Nick Yelloly Hilmer Motorsport
18 Artem Markelov RUSSIAN TIME
19 Alexander Rossi Racing Engineering
20 Sean Gelael Carlin
21 André Negrao Arden International
22 Mitch Evans RUSSIAN TIME
23 Marlon Stockinger Status Grand Prix
24 Rene Binder Trident