Despite not going into the weekend with much confidence, Kiwi Mitch Evans collected his second GP2 Series win in three race as he continued his impressive run at the end of season. Having made a clean get away, he soon worked his to the front, before winning in Bahrain by just under two seconds.
The reverse grid race meant that Evans started in sixth, however he was lucky to avoid a first corner clash as Nobuharu Matsushita spun. The Japanese driver had made an excellent get away from seventh on the grid, and was in second place heading into the first corner, but was unable to get the car stopped and collided with Indonesian Rio Haryanto of Campos Racing.
Haryanto was forced wide as Matsushita retired with damage. It had also been a good start from his ART Grand Prix team-mate, Stoffel Vandoorne, who, despite starting eighth, had worked his way up to second after the first sector after avoiding the carnage ahead of him.
The race was soon neutralised though as 2015 Formula Renault 3.5 Series champion Oliver Rowland hit the back of Rene Binder‘s MP Motorsport car, sending the Status Grand Prix driver airborne, before he hit the barriers and was forced out of the race.
At the restart, pole sitter Alex Lynn pulled away at first, leaving the pair of Vandoorne and Evans to squabble for position between them behind.
Vandoorne knew his tyres traditionally went off in the closing stages, so was determined to save them for a final sprint. Evans made the most of this, eventually making a move on the Belgian stick on lap 7.
From there, no-one was stopping Evans as he quickly closed the deficit on Lynn in front. After having had a few bad weekends, the British driver was determined not to forfeit the place, with the two swapping positions over the next few laps.
By this point however, Lynn had pushed his tyres too far and also fell back into the clutches of Vandoorne, and the Belgium driver was able to pass the DAMS driver easily. However; the three second gap to Evans proved too much for Vandoorne who couldn’t close the deficit and was forced to settle for second, in a repeat of the Bahrain weekend seven months ago.
Behind them, Sergey Sirotkin once again came home with a strong result in fourth. The Russian Rapax driver made a great overtake on Raffaele Marciello on the final lap, with the Trident Racing driver being forced to settle for fifth as a result.
Jordan King impressed to secure sixth for Racing Engineering despite being delayed at the start by Matsushita’s incident, overtaking team-mate Alexander Rossi, Pierre Gasly and Artem Markelov in the closing stages.
Gasly also passed Markelov, who was running an excellent fourth at one stage, and was looking to threaten those ahead of him before his tyres began to fade, although he did hold onto the final point in eighth, ahead of Rossi and Norman Nato, who had a storming race through the field to finish tenth.