Glorious Gasly takes Abu Dhabi Feature victory

Pierre Gasly - Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Pierre Gasly was in a race of his own as he converted his pole position at the Yas Marina Circuit into a fourth victory of the season, but Antonio Giovinazzi took the championship battle to the wire as he finished fifth.

Gasly led comfortably into the first turn, and then managed the Supersoft tyre better than most of his rivals in the first stint to pull out a gap to those behind, including those who started on the alternative Soft tyre.

When the Frenchman pitted, Nobuharu Matsushita assumed the lead for ART Grand Prix, but when he made his own stop to switch from the Soft to the Supersoft with four laps remaining, he fell into third, but despite a quick pass on Artem Markelov, the Japanese racer was left with too much to do, and although he set a stunning fastest lap, finished 6.737 seconds adrift.

Markelov had a strong day for Russian Time, swapping fastest laps with Gasly in the middle of the race, but ultimately ended the race in third ahead of the second ART machine of Sergey Sirotkin, who missed out on the podium by just under three seconds.

Norman Nato finished fifth on the road but the Racing Engineering driver took a five second penalty after speeding in the pit lane during his mandatory pit stop, which promoted Giovinazzi up after the Italian finished less than two seconds behind the Frenchman.

Johnny Cecotto Jr took seventh for Rapax after running inside the top three just before his pit stop towards the end of the race, while eighth place and reverse grid pole for Sunday’s Sprint race went to Alex Lynn of DAMS, who denied team-mate Nicholas Latifi to that position by 3.033 seconds.

Raffaele Marciello ended the race in tenth position for Russian Time, with the Italian dropping out of contention for the championship as a result. He also had a worrying moment during his pit stop when an errant tyre from Trident was they serviced Luca Ghiotto rolled into the middle of the lane, with a mechanic quickly removing the tyre to allow Marciello to get passed.

Gasly, who headed into the race three points behind Giovinazzi in the championship now leads by twelve points with the finale coming on Sunday, with seventeen points on offer should the Italian win and take the fastest lap. The title will go to Prema Racing, but to which driver is yet to be decided.

Yas Marina Circuit Feature Race Result

121Pierre GaslyFRAPrema Racing59:14.764
21Nobuharu MatsushitaJAPART Grand Prix+6.737
310Artem MarkelovRUSRussian Time+11.309
42Sergey SirotkinRUSART Grand Prix+14.111
520Antonio GiovinazziITAPrema Racing+20.172
63Norman NatoFRARacing Engineering+23.686
712Johnny Cecotto JrVENRapax+26.630
85Alex LynnGBRDAMS+35.974
96Nicholas LatifiCANDAMS+39.007
109Raffaele MarcielloITARussian Time+41.589
1115Luca GhiottoITATrident+43.486
1218Sergio CanamasasESPCarlin+43.960
134Jordan KingGBRRacing Engineering+46.090
1423Daniel de JongNEDMP Motorsport+1:04.814
157Mitch EvansNZLCampos Racing+1:26.008
1614Philo Paz ArmandINOTrident+1:27.892
1725Emil BernstorffGBRArden International+1:42.538
RET19Louis DeletrazSWICarlinRetired
RET22Oliver RowlandGBRMP MotorsportRetired
RET8Sean GelaelINOCampos RacingRetired
RET11Gustav MaljaSWERapaxRetired
RET24Nabil JeffriMAYArden InternationalRetired