GP2: 2015 grid continues to shape up with King, Nato announcements

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The grid for the 2015 GP2 Series season is nearly half-full as Formula 1’s leading feeder series prepares for the new year of racing.

The championship supports F1 for all of its European rounds, as well as flyaways in Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, and has produced a number of the sport’s top names including Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Romain Grosjean.

Last year, Jolyon Palmer clinched the championship and has since moved into a reserve role at Lotus F1 Team for the 2015 season. The only graduate from GP2 to F1 for the new year is Felipe Nasr, who finished third with Carlin ahead of his move to Sauber.

The grid for 2015 is now almost half-full, with the title race poised to be between McLaren junior Stoffel Vandoorne and Red Bull youngster Pierre Gasly. GP3 champion Alex Lynn, Ferrari junior Raffaele Marciello and France’s Arthur Pic could also be in the mix for the title though, setting the stage for one of the best seasons in years.

The past week has seen two more announcements ahead of the new season, with British driver Jordan King joining Racing Engineering and former Formula Renault 3.5 driver Norman Nato being confirmed at Arden.

King (pictured) won the prestigious British F3 title back in 2013 before finishing seventh in last year’s FIA F3 European Championship. His father, Justin, is a big played within UK business and is thought to be involved in the proposed rescue of Marussia F1 Team.

Nato spent two years in Formula Renault 3.5 with DAMS, and was the teammate of title winner Carlos Sainz Jr. in 2014. The Frenchman claimed two race wins that year, and is now looking to find success in GP2.

GP2 2015 – Confirmed Drivers

DAMS
Pierre Gasly FRA
Alex Lynn GBR

Carlin
Marco Sorensen DEN
Julian Leal COL

ART Grand Prix
Stoffel Vandoorne BEL

Racing Engineering
Jordan King GBR

RUSSIAN TIME
Artem Markelov RUS

Trident
Raffaele Marciello ITA

Campos Racing
Arthur Pic FRA

Arden International
Andre Negrao BRA
Norman Nato FRA

Valtteri Bottas wins chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix

Mark Thompson/Getty Images
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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas won a chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix while six-time series champion Lewis Hamilton finished fourth after getting a late time penalty Sunday.

The Formula One race was interrupted three times by a safety car, and nine of 20 drivers abandoned, including both Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon – who tried to overtake Hamilton on the outside with 10 laps left, touched wheels and flew off track.

Hamilton was given a 5-second time penalty for causing the collision, having earlier been hit with a three-place grid penalty after an incident in Saturday’s qualifying was reviewed by stewards.

SHOW OF SUPPORT: Drivers take knee before race

Bottas led all 71 laps in the eighth victory of his career. It was the second consecutive victory in the season opener for the Finn, though he won four months earlier in 2019 after this season’s start was delayed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Lando Norris of McLaren F1 celebrates after his first podium finish (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).

Bottas started from pole position and Hamilton from fifth, but it looked like a straight fight between the two Mercedes drivers as has been the case so often in recent years.

But late drama in Spielberg ensured otherwise and Hamilton’s time penalty meant Charles Leclerc took second place for Ferrari, and Lando Norris sent McLaren’s garage into raptures – and threw all social distancing rules out of the window amid the euphoria – with third place.

It was the 20-year-old British driver’s first career podium, and his superb final lap was the fastest of a dramatic season opener.

Norris became the youngest British driver to secure a podium finish and the third-youngest ever in Formula One.

Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).