GP2 Malaysia: Antonio Giovinazzi takes championship lead with win

Antonio Giovinazzi beat ART's Sergey Sirotkin to win the GP2 feature race at Sepang and seize the championship lead from Prema Racing teammate Pierre Gasly

GP2 Malaysia: Antonio Giovinazzi takes championship lead with win

At the start, which was delayed by two extra formation laps needed to recover Artem Markelov's stricken Russian Time car from the back straight, polesitter Gasly made a poor getaway and was jumped by Raffaele Marciello and Giovinazzi.

Marciello led into the first corner but he locked up and slid wide at the apex of Turn 2, which opened the door for Giovinazzi to steal first place.

The Prema driver came under attack from Marciello at Turn 3 but he firmly cemented his lead by sweeping ahead of his fellow Italian at Turn 4, which allowed Sirotkin to bump the Russian Time driver to third at the next corner, while Gasly tumbled dropped to ninth by the end of lap one.

Giovinazzi slowly edged away from Sirotkin and led by 1.6 seconds when the ART driver dived into the pits on lap eight of the 29-lap race to make the switch onto the hard Pirelli tyres.

Prema elected to keep Giovinazzi out for a further three laps, which allowed Sirotkin to use the advantage of his fresh rubber to move into the de facto lead of the race at the start of lap 12.

From there, it seemed Sirotkin would keep Giovinazzi at bay but the rookie driver kept his tyres alive and retook the lead with a thrilling move around the outside of Turn 1 late in the race.

As Giovinazzi took his fifth win of the season by 5.8s, Norman Nato completed the podium for Racing Engineering, 2.1s adrift of Sirotkin.

Alex Lynn finished fourth for DAMS ahead of the battling Jordan King and Marciello, who fell out of contention for the race win due to a long pitstop.

Gasly, who was the first driver to switch from medium to hard tyres early in the race, could not find the pace to make up for his poor getaway.

The Red Bull junior driver did not close in on King during the middle section of the race and he fell into the clutches of the drivers who had started on the harder rubber.

Trident's Luca Ghiotto, who led the race while running long on the hard tyres, emerged from his stop in front of Gasly and went on to finish seventh.

Campos Racing's Mitch Evans and Rapax's Gustav Malja used their fresher medium tyres to get past Gasly and they finished eighth and ninth, as Sergio Canamasas rounded out the top 10 for Carlin.

Gasly came home 11th, prevailing in a charge to the line with MP Motorsport's Oliver Rowland, who had dropped out of the points with a spin at Turn 13 on the final lap.

Giovinazzi's win puts him 11 points clear of Gasly at the top of the championship, with three races of the season remaining.

RESULTS:

Pos Driver Team Car Laps Time Gap
1 Antonio Giovinazzi Prema Racing Dallara/Renault 29 52m18.049s -
2 Sergey Sirotkin ART Grand Prix Dallara/Renault 29 52m23.907s 5.858s
3 Norman Nato Racing Engineering Dallara/Renault 29 52m26.064s 8.015s
4 Alex Lynn DAMS Dallara/Renault 29 52m34.263s 16.214s
5 Jordan King Racing Engineering Dallara/Renault 29 52m36.791s 18.742s
6 Raffaele Marciello RUSSIAN TIME Dallara/Renault 29 52m38.743s 20.694s
7 Luca Ghiotto Trident Dallara/Renault 29 52m43.013s 24.964s
8 Mitch Evans Pertamina Campos Racing Dallara/Renault 29 52m46.599s 28.550s
9 Gustav Malja Rapax Dallara/Renault 29 52m46.790s 28.741s
10 Sergio Canamasas Carlin Dallara/Renault 29 52m51.258s 33.209s
11 Pierre Gasly Prema Racing Dallara/Renault 29 52m53.587s 35.538s
12 Oliver Rowland MP Motorsport Dallara/Renault 29 52m53.599s 35.550s
13 Johnny Cecotto Jr. Rapax Dallara/Renault 29 52m53.752s 35.703s
14 Nicholas Latifi DAMS Dallara/Renault 29 52m59.218s 41.169s
15 Marvin Kirchhofer Carlin Dallara/Renault 29 52m59.337s 41.288s
16 Sean Gelael Pertamina Campos Racing Dallara/Renault 29 53m01.018s 42.969s
17 Daniel de Jong MP Motorsport Dallara/Renault 29 53m05.257s 47.208s
18 Nabil Jeffri Arden International Dallara/Renault 29 53m21.118s 1m03.069s
19 Philo Paz Armand Trident Dallara/Renault 29 53m24.513s 1m06.464s
- Nobuharu Matsushita ART Grand Prix Dallara/Renault 22 49m47.426s Retirement
- Artem Markelov RUSSIAN TIME Dallara/Renault 0 - Not started

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