GP2: Alexander Rossi wins shortened feature race at Sochi Autodrom
Though GP3 feature race was cancelled after a crash in F1 free practice that involved Carlos Sainz Jr, the GP2 feature race was held and the winner of this dramatic race was Alexander Rossi. The race started under setting Sun with Alex Lynn on pole with Vandoorne and Alexander Rossi behind him. On the start, Lynn maintained the lead and Rossi went up to second. Arthur Pic soon overtook Rossi, but ran wide, allowing him to return to second. Series leader Vandoorne dropped to fifth with Pierre Gasly in front of him on fourth. Jordan King lost control of his car and Artem Markelov hit the wall upon rejoining the track, collecting Stockinger and causing the safety car to go out in the first lap. Sergio Canamasas was also involved in the crash. The race was soon red flagged for barrier repairs and cleaning debris.
Half an hour later, the race restarted under safety car. As repairs consumed a lot of times, the race was shortened to 15 laps, which affected teams’ strategies. Upon the restart, Lynn quickly built a gap over Alexander Rossi, and by lap 4, the distance was almost three seconds, and on lap 5, it was over 3s. By lap 6, drivers started pitting and Lynn was among them, which promoted Rossi to the lead. As Rossi pitted, Arthur Pic went up to the lead with Stoffel Vandoorne right in his tail. Lynn managed to catch Rossi and moments later, Vandoorne took the lead from Pic, who pitted on lap 10. Mitch Evans was issued a 5s penalty for disobeying track limits.
Pierre Gasly posted the fastest lap and started attacking Rossi in order to get to second after the pit cycle completed. Net race leader Alex Lynn went off on lap 12, losing his possible win. Vandoorne pitted on lap 13 and rejoined the track on third, just behind Rossi and Gasly. On lap 14, Vandoorne almost went off, but maintained control of his car and third place. Rossi managed to hold off Gasly and win the Russian GP feature race with Vandoorne on third. That was Racing Engineering driver’s third consecutive round victory. Sirotkin was fourth, followed by Haryanto, Marciello, Stanaway and Pic who finished the race eighth, and will start the sprint race from pole. Matsushita and Evans completed the top ten and full points were awarded to the drivers, despite the race being shortened.