GP2: Matsushita dominates for sprint win

From left, Vandoorne, Matsushita and Sirotkin

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 tires 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 tire 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 tires 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.

Budapest – Sprint Race

POS NO DRIVERS TEAMS LAPS TIME GAP INT. BEST LAP
1 6 N. Matsushita ART Grand Prix 28 43:43.229 0.000 0.000 1:32.303 6
2 5 S. Vandoorne ART Grand Prix 28 43:45.190 1.961 0.000 1:31.985 7
3 18 S. Sirotkin Rapax 28 43:45.789 2.560 0.599 1:33.067 4
4 11 R. Marciello Trident 28 43:59.472 16.243 13.683 1:33.131 4
5 15 R. Haryanto Campos Racing 28 44:01.050 17.821 1.578 1:33.149 3
6 21 N. Nato Arden International 28 44:02.128 18.899 1.078 1:33.247 7
7 19 R. Visoiu Rapax 28 44:02.834 19.605 0.706 1:33.058 12
8 1 P. Gasly DAMS 28 44:07.733 24.504 4.899 1:33.174 5
9 2 A. Lynn DAMS 28 44:12.801 29.572 5.068 1:33.266 6
10 14 A. Pic Campos Racing 28 44:13.609 30.380 0.808 1:33.573 9
11 26 N. Berthon Daiko Team Lazarus 28 44:23.048 39.819 9.439 1:33.758 11
12 7 J. King Racing Engineering 28 44:26.895 43.666 3.847 1:32.975 4
13 23 R. Stanaway Status Grand Prix 28 44:29.452 46.223 2.557 1:33.984 9
14 16 N. Latifi MP Motorsport 28 44:30.473 47.244 1.021 1:34.091 6
15 3 J. Leal Carlin 28 44:31.098 47.869 0.625 1:34.122 7
16 25 S. Canamasas Hilmer Motorsport 28 44:33.279 50.050 2.181 1:33.510 6
17 24 N. Yelloly Hilmer Motorsport 28 44:34.440 51.211 1.161 1:33.384 6
18 10 A. Markelov RUSSIAN TIME 28 44:43.799 60.570 9.359 1:34.130 6
19 8 A. Rossi Racing Engineering 28 44:48.084 64.855 4.285 1:31.862 25
20 4 S. Gelael Carlin 28 44:50.533 67.304 2.449 1:33.896 7
21 20 A. Negrão Arden International 28 44:53.636 70.407 3.103 1:34.153 5
22 9 M. Evans RUSSIAN TIME 28 45:02.197 78.968 8.561 1:31.646 25
23 22 M. Stockinger Status Grand Prix 27 43:49.085 1 LAP 1 LAP 1:30.999 27
24 12 R. Binder Trident 27 44:57.266 1 LAP 68.181 1:34.337 13
17 D. De Jong MP Motorsport 16 26:22.849 DNF 1:33.106 16

Fastest Lap: Marlon Stockinger (Status Grand Prix) – 1:30.999 on lap 27

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