ABU DHABI – McLaren junior driver Stoffel Vandoorne took a huge step towards securing second place in the 2014 GP2 championship by winning his fourth race of the year in Abu Dhabi today.
After securing pole position on Friday at Yas Marina, Vandoorne controlled the race from the front on Saturday evening, eventually crossing the line 12 seconds ahead of championship winner Jolyon Palmer.
Starting second, Palmer opted for a reverse strategy, starting the race on the prime tire. As a result, he could not hold back Felipe Nasr after an early safety car period, but tried to bring himself into the frame to win the race by going further into the race before stopping.
However, Vandoorne made light work of the traffic, meaning he retook the lead when the prime runners pitted on lap 24 before easing his ART home to claim a fourth win of the year.
Palmer’s strategy allowed him to leapfrong Nasr, with the Brazilian driver eventually finishing the race in fourth place. As a result, he has dropped behind Vandoorne in the drivers’ standings, trailing the Belgian by nine points. Mitch Evans completed the podium for Russian Time, ensuring that he will finish the year fourth in the championship.
DAMS clinched the teams’ title in the race with Palmer in second place and Stephane Richelmi finishing fifth. Johnny Cecotto Jr. came home in sixth ahead of Stefano Coletti and Arthur Pic, with Rio Haryanto ninth ahead of Daniel de Jong in P10.
On his return to the series, American driver Conor Daly could only finish P20, having started on the prime tire.
The GP2 season comes to a close in Abu Dhabi tomorrow with the sprint race. Arthur Pic will start on the reverse grid pole after finishing eighth in the race today.