Home Formula 2 Matsushita secures maiden win of rookie campaign in Hungary sprint

Matsushita secures maiden win of rookie campaign in Hungary sprint

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
Photo:  Sam Bloxham / GP2 Media Service

Photo: Sam Bloxham / GP2 Media Service

Japanese F3 champion Nobuharu Matsushita became the fourth rookie winner of the 2015 GP2 season, completing an ART 1-2 with Stoffel Vandoorne in the Hungary sprint.

Having made his way from 21st on the grid to eighth yesterday, Matsushita took advantage of his reverse-grid pole to establish a sizeable lead even before turn one.

With Raffaele Marciello slow off front row, Matsushita now had Vandoorne behind, while Sergey Sirotkin also passed the Italian for third.

As ART ran in 1-2, Vandoorne got as close as ever to his teammate on lap three, but then dropped off, giving up several seconds over the next few laps as he appeared to manage his tyres.

Him and Matsushita subsequently maintained the status quo until well after halfway point as they took turns upping and lowering the pace.

But while the Japanese driver never came under much pressure, eventually cruising to his maiden win, Vandoorne soon came under pressure from Sirotkin.

The Russian had a look on the final lap, but Vandoorne held on to second, with Sirotkin settling for a fifth podium from the last seven races.

Marciello fended off early attacks from Vandoorne’s closest points rival Rio Haryanto?to take fourth, with the Indonesian claiming fifth place.

Pierre Gasly ran in sixth for most of the race, but was overtaken by both Norman Nato and Robert Visoiu with two laps to go and had to do with eighth, finishing ahead of teammate Alex Lynn and compatriot Arthur Pic.

It was a nightmarish race for teams’ championship frontrunners Racing Engineering, whose drivers suffered from heavy tyre degradation. Jordan King ran seventh early on but slipped to seventh, while Alexander Rossi ended up pitting for an unscheduled tyre change and claimed 19th.

Sergio Canamasas made waves on the opening lap, going from 25th to 10th, but also struggled with tyrewear and eventually finished 16th.

Race results
Pos. Driver Team Time/Gap
1 Nobuharu Matsushita ART Grand Prix 28 laps in 43:43.229
2 Stoffel Vandoorne ART Grand Prix +1.961
3 Sergey Sirotkin Rapax +2.560
4 Raffaele Marciello Trident +16.243
5 Rio Haryanto Campos Racing +17.821
6 Norman Nato Arden International +18.899
7 Robert Visoiu Rapax +19.605
8 Pierre Gasly DAMS +24.504
9 Alex Lynn DAMS +29.572
10 Arthur Pic Campos Racing +30.380
11 Nathanael Berthon Daiko Team Lazarus +39.819
12 Jordan King Racing Engineering +43.666
13 Richie Stanaway Status Grand Prix +46.223
14 Nicholas Latifi MP Motorsport +47.244
15 Julian Leal Carlin +47.869
16 Sergio Canamasas Hilmer Motorsport +50.050
17 Nick Yelloly Hilmer Motorsport +51.211
18 Artem Markelov Russian Time +1:00.570
19 Alexander Rossi Racing Engineering +1:04.855
20 Sean Gelael Carlin +1:07.304*
21 Andre Negrao Arden International +1:10.407
22 Mitchell Evans Russian Time +1:18.968
23 Marlon Stockinger Status Grand Prix +1 lap
24 Rene Binder Trident +1 lap
Not classified
Daniel de Jong MP Motorsport +12 laps

* – 5-second penalty