GP2: Stanaway won under yellow, Vandoorne crowned champion
The exciting Russian GP2 weekend got its second episode Saturday 10:05AM local time. After Alex Rossi won the shortened first race, it was time for the sprint race to bring its dose of excitement. And it sure did Richie Stanaway winning the race under the Safety Car after a somewhat confusing yellow flag battle with Haryanto. Though he finished the race in fourth, ART GP driver Stoffel Vandoorne won the 2015 GP2 championship. Arthur Pic started the 21-lap long race from pole and was followed by Richie Stanaway, Raffaele Marciello and Rio Haryanto. Stanaway took the lead on the start with Haryanto and Pic in second and third respectively. Gelael didn’t have luck as he stalled on the start, whereas Binder and Stockinger crashed and Stockinger spun in chaos that took place in the first lap. Safety car was deployed after a multi-car crash which forced Sirotkin to the pits too. On lap 3, the race restarted with a great battle between Sergio Canamasas and Mitch Evans. DRS was enabled on lap 6 and Pierre Gasly lost his position while trying to overtake Pic for third. He almost made the move, but ran wide and jumped off the curb, dropping to sixth, between Vandoorne and Rossi. Marciello and Pic battled for third on the same lap. Pic managed to hold his attacker off until lap 8, when Marciello and Vandoorne overtook him, dropping him to fifth. That change of positions made Vandoorne one step closer to sealing the championship win as Rossi now had two cars between himself and the Belgian. Sixth-placed Pierre Gasly was investigated for overtaking under the safety car and the penalty was ruled to be decided on after the race.
Halfway into the race, Marciello was constantly defending from Vandoorne who was in his tail. On lap 14, Visiou was issued a 5s penalty for track limits. Haryanto was losing pace and the battle for second now involved both Marciello and Vandoorne, while Stanaway had a comfortable lead. Pierre Gasly posted the best lap time on lap 16 in an effort to gain seconds in case his overtaking under SC was penalized. Further back, Rossi was under attacks from Matsushita and in front, Marciello was heroically defending his podium place from Vandoorne with just three laps to go. In the final laps, Haryanto returned to the battle for the victory, and on lap 20, Ceccoto crashed in Turn 3. Haryanto took the lead on the penultimate lap, just before the Safety Car was deployed. However, Stanaway reclaimed his spot, leaving Haryanto on second and Marciello third. Vandoorne finished fourth, but took the championship win and Gasly finished fifth. Rossi was sixth, followed by Rossi and Matsushita who were remaining point scorers.