Alexander Rossi has claimed his maiden GP2 victory in Abu Dhabi after a sensational performance that will certainly help his cause to become the first American Formula One driver since Scott Speed in 2007.
Rossi has balanced his GP2 campaign with testing duties at Caterham, and the support series has seen him flourish with three podium finishes in 2013. However, after scoring his first pole position yesterday, Rossi went on to win the race ahead of Britain’s Jolyon Palmer.
Off the start, Rossi lost out to Palmer and was trailing him by as much as 3.3 seconds ahead of his late first pit stop. The American driver said that he was coming in “too late” on the radio, but it proved to be a masterstroke. By pitting two laps earlier than his rival, Rossi managed to make up the time meaning that Palmer emerged from the pits in second place.
Despite a late safety car period, Rossi managed to control the race from the front in the final few laps to eventually win the race by just over two seconds.
The race also saw the GP2 championship decided as Fabio Leimer finished fourth to establish an unassailable points lead over Britain’s Sam Bird. With GP2 being the direct support series to F1, it is likely that he could follow in the footsteps of Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado by making the step up in the near future.
However, the race belonged to Rossi. Fans in the U.S. will get the chance to see him run at Austin later this month when he takes part in the first free practice session for Caterham.