Sergey Sirotkin ended the Hockenheimring weekend of the GP2 Series season as co-leader of the championship after his first Feature race victory of the season, followed by a runners-up spot in the Sprint race.
The Russian was making his first visit to the German circuit, and finished down in tenth during the sole practice session as he learned the 4.574km track, but when it came to qualifying he secured a third pole position of the season by 0.016 seconds from main title rival Pierre Gasly.
“It was a bit strange weekend,” said Sirotkin on the ART Grand Prix website. “It did not start super well. It was a new track for me and we did not have much to expect during free practice so I can’t say we were immediately in the winning shape.
“I felt better and better every lap on the track, just as the car did. So in qualifying in the last moment we were able to push and to do the very magic lap and set the pole position.”
Sirotkin secured victory on Saturday despite being forced to make two pit stops, having made the first one illegally while the virtual safety car was deployed, with the stewards insisting that he would need to take his mandatory pit stop again as a result.
The Russian would drive strongly trying to make a gap, and then passed Oliver Rowland, Luca Ghiotto and Raffaele Marciello to retake the lead, while he was also patient during Sunday’s Sprint race to overtake a number of cars having started eighth on the grid to claim second behind Alex Lynn.
“The first race has been a very strange one,” said Sirotkin. “The start was good, we were leading on the first few laps but as I did not want to push too much to kill the tyres, I was forced to be overtaken and I just stayed on second place.
“Then unfortunately I did not see the VSC panels so I pitted which, to be honest, was quite a good decision. I was able to attack with the fresh tyres so that’s what I did very quick lap times and then when we pitted again for the mandatory pit stop with fresh option tyres, I was really, really quick.
“I was just flying, overtaking many cars and we won the race by a reasonable margin. I don’t think it was a mistake to box in the beginning of the race, it looks like it was the best strategy.
“Then I was able to be on the podium in second race. We did a big step on the championship this weekend and I’m really happy with that!”