Vandoorne Victorious on GP2 Series Debut in Bahrain

by Paul Hensby

ART Grand Prix debutant Stoffel Vandoorne won the opening race of the 2014 GP2 season in the desert of Bahrain.  The Belgian rookie, who is the official McLaren F1 test driver, started P2 but led into the first corner, and won the race by 1.551s from Carlin’s Colombian driver Julian Leal.

Vandoorne kept control of the race thereafter, and the McLaren junior driver won the opening round of his rookie season for the second year in a row, having won the first race of the 2013 Formula Renault 3.5 series at Monza.

Pole sitter Jolyon Palmer had a disastrous opening lap and fell to sixth, but climbed back up to second after the pit stops but lost out to Leal for second near the end.  The DAMS driver had to hold off a fighting Stefano Coletti over the closing laps with the Racing Engineering driver having a strong first race of the year after starting sixth.  Palmer did grab the two bonus points for fastest lap.

Frenchman Arthur Pic had a strong debut weekend too, moving up from his ninth place on the grid to finish fifth on the road in the first race back in the series for his team Campos Racing.  Takuya Izawa completed a good first race for ART Grand Prix by putting his car sixth, just ahead of Swiss driver Simon Trummer in the Rapax machine, who lead for most of the race before making his compulsory pit-stop two laps from the end of the race; Trummer made up two places on his new soft tyres in that time.

Eighth place and reverse grid pole went to Felipe Nasr in the second Carlin car.  The Brazilian made a good start from his 11th place but lost places to Izawa and Trummer in the last few laps as his tyres faded.  The final two points finishers were Arden International’s Rene Binder and the second Rapax of Adrian Quaife-Hobbs.

It was not such a good race for drivers like Mitch Evans, Rio Haryanto and Alexander Rossi, who all struggled with their tyres, especially in the second half of the race.  Another one to have a bad race was Ferrari junior driver Raffaele Marciello, who suffered a bad start then was caught speeding in the pit lane, resulting in a drive-through penalty.  He would eventually finish the race eighteenth.

The safety car was deployed early in the race when Campos Racing’s Kimiya Sato collided with Trident Racing’s Axcil Jefferies, who crashed at high speed at turn four.  Sato was handed a ten-second stop and go penalty for the offence.  Another driver to receive a penalty was Johnny Cecotto Jr in the second Trident car for overtaking another car while exceeding track limits.

Bahrain Feature Race Results

1 Stoffel Vandoorne BEL ART Grand Prix 59m57.411s
2 Julian Leal COL Carlin +1.551s
3 Jolyon Palmer GBR DAMS +5.880s
4 Stefano Coletti MON Racing Engineering +6.317s
5 Arthur Pic FRA Campos Racing +15.100s
6 Takuya Izawa JAP ART Grand Prix +21.729s
7 Simon Trummer SWI Rapax +21.979s
8 Felipe Nasr BRZ Carlin +24.425s
9 Rene Binder AUT Arden International +24.861s
10 Adrian Quaife-Hobbs GBR Rapax +26.194s
11 Daniel de Jong NED MP Motorsport +27.034s
12 Conor Daly USA Venezuela GP Lazarus +31.931s
13 Daniel Abt GER Hilmer Motorsport +36.231s
14 Mitch Evans NZL RT Russian Time +36.997s
15 Artem Markelov RUS RT Russian Time +41.030s
16 Rio Haryanto INO EQ8 Caterham Racing +41.714s
17 Jon Lancaster GBR MP Motorsport +42.412s
18 Raffaele Marciello ITA Racing Engineering +46.849s
19 Stephane Richelmi MON DAMS +49.656s
20 Andre Negrao BRZ Arden International +1m02.346s
21 Johnny Cecotto JR VEN Trident Racing +1m13.454s
22 Alexander Rossi USA EQ8 Caterham Racing +1m34.560s
RET Nathanael Berthon FRA Venezuela GP Lazarus 30 Laps
RET Kimiya Sato JAP Campos Racing 27 Laps
RET Axcil Jefferies ZIM Trident Racing 2 Laps
RET Facu Regalia ARG Hilmer Motorsport 0 Laps

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