Barcelona GP2: Vandoorne wins frantic Feature Race

McLaren junior driver Stoffel Vandoorne won a mesmerizing round three of the GP2 Series at Barcelona, in a race of diverse tyre strategies and impacted by a malfunctioning DRS.

Vandoorne, Pierre Gasly and Alex Lynn all started on the soft tyre from the top three positions on the grid, with Mitch Evans and Alexander Rossi and the majority of those behind starting on the hard.

Vandoorne didn't make a great start, but clung on to his lead as Gasly passed Lynn – who didn't capitalize on his excellent initial launch off the startline – round the outside at Turn 1.

Evans ran fourth from Rossi and Arthur Pic, up from 11th on the grid on the soft tyre.

Vandoorne extended a 1.3s lead on the opening lap, with Lynn pressuring Gasly for second early on but slipping back.

Behind them, Rio Haryanto passed teammate Pic for sixth on lap five with a great move around the outside of Turn 1.

Vandoorne pitted at the first opportunity on lap six, as did Gasly, and despite a slow front-left change Vandoorne just kept his advantage over the Frenchman.

Lynn was told to "push like hell" and pitted a lap later, rejoining behind Vandoorne and Gasly, all of which handed the lead to Evans from Rossi, Haryanto and Raffaele Marciello, who had passed Norman Nato at Turn 10.

Bahrain Sprint Race winner Haryanto ran for longer on the softs, which allowed Pic back past him but ensured he had more grip towards the end.

The new-for-2015 DRS didn't work for any driver for most of the race, which made life harder for the early pitters whose strategy depended on them overtaking the midfielders who were yet to stop on hard tyres.

As a result, Vandoorne and Gasly lost time in the middle stages in traffic, and despite some well-executed moves it meant Evans and Rossi were able to run in clear air up front.

Gasly got stuck behind Vandoorne's ART teammate Nobuharu Matsushita and then the stubborn Sergio Canamasas, which allowed Vandoorne to escape and keep the gap to the leaders to 26s

Rossi pitted before leader Evans from second, rejoining behind DAMS duo Gasly and Lynn. Evans pitted a lap later, rejoining behind Lynn, but Rossi made short work of the DAMS cars and set off after Vandoorne.

On fresh soft tyres, Rossi carved into Vandoorne's 7s lead – as DRS began to work again with eight laps to go.

Evans stomped past Gasly and Lynn to take third, and closed in on Rossi.

Gasly and Lynn battled so hard that Haryanto passed Lynn for fifth, as they spent much of one lap side by side. Haryanto and then Lynn passed Gasly with a couple of laps remaining.

Rossi got DRS on Vandoorne with three laps to go, but couldn't get any closer than 0.6s before his soft tyres went off and he fell away again.

Rossi now had Evans looming in his mirrors, and he dive-bombed him with a risky move with two laps to go.

Vandoorne did a superb job to cling on to victory, beating Evans to the flag by 1.9s. Rossi finished third ahead of Haryanto, Lynn, Marciello and Gasly.

"That was a hard race, but it feels good!" said Vandoorne of his splendid – and hard-earned – victory.

Pos Driver  Team  Time   Gap
Stoffel Vandoorne ART Grand Prix 1h00m31.992  
Mitchell Evans RUSSIAN TIME 1h00m33.949 1.957
Alexander Rossi Racing Engineering 1h00m36.631 4.639
Rio Haryanto Campos Racing 1h00m49.729 17.737
Alex Lynn DAMS 1h00m53.108 21.116
Raffealle Marciello Trident 1h00m55.024 23.032
Pierre Gasly DAMS 1h00m57.833 25.841
Norman Nato Arden International 1h01m01.544 29.552
Arthur Pic Campos Racing 1h01m02.430 30.438
10  Richie Stanaway Status Grand Prix 1h01m03.527 31.535
11  Nobuharu Matsushita ART Grand Prix 1h01m03.698 31.706
12  Artem Markelov RUSSIAN TIME 1h01m04.018 32.026
13  Sergio Canamasas MP Motorsport 1h01m26.479 54.487
14  Jordan King Racing Engineering 1h01m27.469 55.477
15  Daniel de Jong MP Motorsport 1h01m28.897 56.905
16  Sergey Sirotkin Rapax 1h01m30.295 58.303
17  Zoel Amberg Lazarus 1h01m31.712 59.720
18  Robert Visoiu Rapax 1h01m32.155 1m00.163
19  Marco Sorensen Carlin 1h01m32.686 1m00.694
20  Nathaneal Berthon Lazarus 1h01m36.178 1m04.186
21  Johnny Cecotto Jr Hilmer Motorsport 1h01m39.777 1m07.785
22  Rene Binder Trident 1h01m54.642 1m22.650
23  Andre Negrao Arden International  
Julian Leal Carlin  
Marlon Stockinger Status Grand Prix  
Nick Yelloly Hilmer Motorsport


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About this article
Series FIA F2
Event Barcelona
Track Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya
Article type Race report