Sochi GP2: McLaren's Vandoorne seals title, Stanaway wins sprint

McLaren protege Stoffel Vandoorne clinched the 2015 GP2 championship with two rounds to go, as Richie Stanaway won the sprint race at Sochi amid late safety car confusion

Sochi GP2: McLaren's Vandoorne seals title, Stanaway wins sprint

Vandoorne only had to finish ahead of Alexander Rossi to clinch the title with four races left, and he did so with fourth place, following a frenetic three-car battle with Raffaele Marciello and Pierre Gasly.

At the start, Status Grand Prix driver Stanaway got away well but was immediately under pressure from the equally fast-starting Arthur Pic.

The pair were side-by-side and made slight contact into Turn 2, allowing Pic's team-mate Rio Haryanto through into second.

Once again, though, the safety car was deployed on the opening lap due to further incidents at Turn 2.

Sergey Sirotkin made contact with Dean Stoneman, which resulted in a spin for the Carlin driver. Sirotkin was handed a 10-second penalty for the incident.

Just behind there was also contact between Marlon Stockinger and Rene Binder.

Binder slowed to avoid the stricken Stoneman, leaving Stockinger with nowhere to go as the Status Grand Prix driver collided and mounted the back of Binder.

Stanaway and Haryanto both pulled clear after the restart, but there was a train forming behind third-place man Pic.

Red Bull junior Gasly hassled his fellow Frenchman for a number of laps before hitting the inside kerb attempting an overtake, which dropped him down just ahead of Rossi.

This allowed Marciello to have a go at Pic, who was now holding up five cars.

Ferrari protege Marciello eventually go the move down at Turn 2 before the pair ran side by side around Turn 3, where Pic went wide.

This allowed Vandoorne to have a run at the Campos Racing driver and he deposed him of fourth on the following corner.

With Stanaway seemingly clear out in front, the main on-track battle was between Marciello and Vandoorne, who were closing in on second place man Haryanto by 0.5 seconds a lap.

Vandoorne tried time and time again to find a way past Marciello but he couldn't make a move stick and was soon hassled from Gasly, who took advantage of Pic locking up at Turn 13.

With Marciello, Vandoorne and Gasly scrapping over third place, Haryanto was allowed some breathing space and he set off on a late charge to catch leader Stanaway.

By the penultimate lap the gap between the two was down to just 0.5s and Haryanto made a move up the inside of Turn 13 to seemingly take the lead.

But the safety car had been deployed following Jonny Cecotto's accident at Turn 3.

Haryanto gave the place back to Stanaway, who took his second win of the season, under safety car conditions.

Marciello held on to his third podium of the season, with new champion Vandoorne and Gasly close behind.

Feature race winner Rossi was sixth ahead of Nobuharu Matsushita, who picked up his first points since winning the sprint race in Hungary.

Arthur Pic was handed a five-second time penalty for overtaking under safety car conditions, meaning the Frenchman drops from eighth to 13th, gifting the final points position to Mitch Evans.

Sergey Sirotkin and Sergio Canamasas also received the same penalty, they fall to 17th and 21st respectively.

RESULTS - 21 LAPS:

Pos Driver Team Gap
1 Richie Stanaway Status Grand Prix 40m30.089s
2 Rio Haryanto Campos Racing 0.579s
3 Raffaele Marciello Trident 1.293s
4 Stoffel Vandoorne ART Grand Prix 2.045s
5 Pierre Gasly DAMS 2.459s
6 Alexander Rossi Racing Engineering 4.498s
7 Nobuharu Matsushita ART Grand Prix 4.780s
8 Mitch Evans RUSSIAN TIME 5.390s
9 Norman Nato Arden International 5.796s
10 Alex Lynn DAMS 6.923s
11 Andre Negrao Arden International 7.696s
12 Artem Markelov RUSSIAN TIME 7.825s
13 Arthur Pic Campos Racing 10.187s
14 Nicholas Latifi MP Motorsport 11.954s
15 Jordan King Racing Engineering 12.218s
16 Dean Stoneman Carlin 13.749s
17 Sergio Canamasas Daiko Team Lazarus 15.927s
18 Robert Visoiu Rapax 17.343s
19 Nathanael Berthon Daiko Team Lazarus 19.467s
20 Sergey Sirotkin Rapax 26.278s
21 Sean Gelael Carlin 1 Lap
22 Johnny Cecotto Jr. Trident 2 Laps
- Marlon Stockinger Status Grand Prix Retirement
- Rene Binder MP Motorsport Retirement

DRIVERS' CHAMPIONSHIP:

Pos Driver Points
1 Stoffel Vandoorne 277.5
2 Alexander Rossi 169.5
3 Rio Haryanto 126
4 Sergey Sirotkin 121
5 Alex Lynn 90
6 Mitch Evans 90
7 Pierre Gasly 82
8 Raffaele Marciello 74
9 Richie Stanaway 60
10 Arthur Pic 59
11 Nobuharu Matsushita 50.5
12 Artem Markelov 47
13 Jordan King 46
14 Julian Leal 38
15 Sergio Canamasas 27
16 Nathanael Berthon 24
17 Robert Visoiu 20
18 Norman Nato 20
19 Nick Yelloly 19
20 Oliver Rowland 3
21 Andre Negrao 3
22 Rene Binder 2
23 Daniel de Jong 1
24 Dean Stoneman 1
25 Gustav Malja 1
26 Marlon Stockinger 0
27 Johnny Cecotto Jr. 0
28 Zoel Amberg 0
29 Nicholas Latifi 0
30 Simon Trummer 0
31 Jon Lancaster 0
32 Marco Sorensen 0
33 Patric Niederhauser 0
34 Sean Gelael 0
35 Jann Mardenborough 0


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