In another entertaining weekend of GP2 racing at Spa-Francorchamps, Ferrari junior driver Raffaele Marciello claimed his maiden race win after seeing off McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne in an epic feature race battle.
The two youngsters made the most of the wet conditions to surge ahead at the front of the field before scrapping for the race win in the final few laps of the race.
Just as the feature race got underway on Saturday, a heavy rain shower hit the circuit that was severe enough to warrant a red flag. American driver Conor Daly was the only casualty of the few laps in the rain, making a mistake and finishing his race in the gravel.
Vandoorne had held the lead from pole position, and quickly moved ahead at the front alongside Marciello. The McLaren junior appeared to have the race under control, enjoying a lead of a couple of seconds over the Racing Engineering driver before taking to the pits for a fresh set of intermediate tires.
Marciello stayed out a few laps longer, and was flying when he came back out on fresh tires. The Italian driver quickly reeled in Vandoorne before the two put on a fantastic duel at the front of the field, showing racecraft far beyond their years. In the end, Marciello found a way past at Rivage after getting a better run on the Belgian along the Kemmel straight.
After a difficult start to the season, it was an important win for Marciello to take, but he could only finish in 14th place in the sprint race on Sunday.
In the battle for the drivers’ title, Felipe Nasr managed to cut Jolyon Palmer’s lead at the top of the standings to 32 points after winning the sprint race on Sunday. The Brazilian could only qualify P11 on Saturday, but rallied to finish ahead of Palmer in both races and reduce the gap by eleven points.
In GP3, Red Bull junior Alex Lynn took a big step towards the championship by claiming his first win since the feature race in Austria. He now leads New Zealand’s Richie Stanaway by 32 points at the top of the standings.