In a dramatic race filled with four safety car periods, Antonio Giovinazzi, despite a poor start claimed his first GP2 victory ahead of Sergey Sirotkin and Nobuharu Matsuhita when championship leaders did not finish the race
Antonio Giovinazzi started on pole position for the first time of his GP2 career ahead of ART GP drivers Nobuharu Matsushita and Sergey Sirotkin.
At the start Giovinazzi stalled on the grid and lost several places but mayhem started further back in the field. Pierre Gasly, by trying to overtake on the inside found himself stuck with Norman Nato who spun but eventually managed to start again. Sergio Canamasas got into Gasly’s rear, ending both of their races. Alex Lynn, Nicholas Latifi and Marvin Kirchhofer were down as well following those incidents. Safety car was obviously deployed to retrieve the cars.
Raffaele Marciello overtook Matsushita at the restart for the lead while Giovinazzi managed to overtake Luca Ghiotto to regain P4. Thanks to the slipstream, Matsushita regained P1 at the end of the straight-line the lap afterwards.
Three laps later, Marciello overtook Matsushita for the lead before the safety car was deployed again after Philo Paz Armand hit the wall at turn one. Every driver starting with super-soft tyres pitted to get medium ones. At the restart, there was some confusion with yellow flags as some drivers slowed down in the straight-line. A few corners later, Arthur Pic and Artem Markelov had contact again, forcing both drivers to retire and deploying another safety car for one lap.
At the restart, Nabil Jeffri, who had not pitted yet, lost two places and Marciello managed to get away from Matsushita who lost 5 places at the restart. When DRS was enabled, Giovinazzi could overtake Oliver Rowland for second place at the straight-line. Matsushita kept going wide in turn 1 and lost a place to his teammate Sirotkin. Jeffri, locked his tyres and went into the run off area at turn 3 while he was still in the points, he did not start again.
ART GP drivers kept following each other, one helping the other to overtake. Giovinazzi, on fire since the last restart, managed to overtake Marciello for the lead and built a 2 seconds gap to Marciello within one lap.
After 10 laps without safetycar, championship leader Norman Nato hit the wall while trying to overtake his teammate. The safety car period following this incident was incredibly long and allowed Jordan King to pit before he spun into the run off area, his brakes cooling off. Safety car went in for two last laps. At the restart, Giovinazzi broke late at T1 but managed to keep the lead when Rowland cracked under Sirotkin’s pressure. Meanwhile, King and Jimmy Eriksson collided and retired in the penultimate lap.
Giovinazzi kept his lead in the last lap when Sirotkin overtook Marciello on the straight-line for second place! The Italian drivers scored his first victory in GP2. After the podium followed Rowland, Evans, Matsushita, Gelael, De Jong who will start on pole for the sprint race- Ghiotto and Malja. Thanks to the 12 retirements involving championship leaders, Nato could keep the lead of the championship.