The ART Grand Prix enjoyed a successful weekend at the Hungaroring, with Stoffel Vandoorne claiming his second victory of the season in the Sprint race on Sunday, while team-mate Takuya Izawa, on a track he had never visited before, was able to take his maiden podium finish in the Feature race on Saturday.
Vandoorne was able to take his second win of the season, and first since the opening race of the year in Bahrain. He jumped ahead of pole sitter Nathanael Berthon of Venezuela GP Lazarus at the start of the Sunday Sprint race, and was never given a challenge, and when he needed to push he had enough in his tyres to do so, and was able to comfortable keep Jolyon Palmer of DAMS and Felipe Nasr of Carlin at arms length. The Belgian is rapidly coming to grips with GP2, and could have scored another podium in the Feature race on Saturday had the safety car not ruined his race.
“We’ve been close to the win recently,” said Vandoorne. “Ever since the Red bull Ring, we’ve been on the podium every weekend. I was leading the first race here too and I have the feeling we deserved much better than that, but the timing of the second safety car could not have been worse.
“On Sunday, it was a lights-to-flag victory and that was great for me and for the team. I got past Berthon and pushed in the first few laps to build a gap, then I saved my tires and never came under threat, even when Palmer pushed hard. I wanted to be safe so I pushed hard too. It’s good to finish the final race before the summer break with a victory and with third place in the standings.”
The safety car that affected Vandoorne on Saturday had a much different effect for his team-mate Izawa, who was able to take his best result of the season in fourth place, which later became third when Stefano Coletti of Racing Engineering was handed a twenty-second penalty after the race, enabling the Japanese driver to get his first GP2 trophy. He was unfortunate in the Sprint race to be hit by over drivers, but overall the Japanese driver was very impressive during both races.
“It was another track I had to learn, but an interesting one,” said Izawa. “I liked this challenge and I think I found a good rhythm, which is the key to racing at the Hungaroring. Of course, the safety car gave me a boost but I seized the opportunity and I’m delighted to go back home with a trophy, my first one in the series!
“The car was really good and I could push as hard as I wanted, the feeling was exceptional. That’s why the second race was really pleasant too despite the collisions I was victim of, and the raw result. Thank you to everyone at ART Grand Prix for this incredible first part of the season. I’m looking forward to take it from here in Belgium.”
Team Manager of ART Grand Prix Sebastien Philippe was delighted with the team’s weekend in Hungary, praising the efforts of both drivers. He was happy for Izawa on taking his first podium finish, and was over the moon with Vandoorne’s perfect job on Sunday for the Sprint race win.
“This is a beautiful weekend for ART Grand Prix and both their drivers,” said Philippe. “Of course, the safety car ruined Stoffel’s chances to win the first race but it helped Takuya who deserves this podium. His race pace was amazing on Sunday too as he secured the second fastest lap in the race despite being in the middle of the field most of the time.
“Stoffel had bad luck in the first race but his strategy was really good and he did nothing wrong. It’s just the way it is sometimes with motorsport. He was brilliant on Sunday. He resisted two very experienced and successful drivers, namely Palmer and Nasr, and secured the fastest lap when we asked him to. Perfect job and auspicious to prepare Spa.”