GP2: Matsushita claims maiden victory in Hungary

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Nobuharu Matsushita claimed his maiden victory in the GP2 Series on Sunday by going lights-to-flag to win the sprint race in Hungary.

Starting from pole position, Matsushita controlled the race from the front to lead home ART Grand Prix teammate and championship leader Stoffel Vandoorne by 1.9 seconds.

Vandoorne made up for his difficult feature race on Saturday by jumping Raffaele Marciello for second place off the line, and was followed through by Sergey Sirotkin who remained on the Belgian’s tail for much of the race.

Tire management was a key concern for all of the drivers out on track, but Matsushita was able to keep his Pirellis in check and slowly eke out a lead over Vandoorne before crossing the line to claim his first win in GP2.

“The car was just amazing from the beginning until the end,” Matsushita said. “On Friday, I made a big mistake in qualifying. I had a flat stop so I couldn’t attack. That’s why I qualified P21.

“It was my worst qualifying result of the year. But yesterday, I made a great recovery and today I could start from P1.

“The car was just amazing. I made a good start and after that I only had to control everything until the end.”

The Honda-backed Japanese youngster only made his GP2 debut at the beginning of the season, but has proved to be a useful teammate to Vandoorne in his title bid.

Despite finishing second, Vandoorne extended his lead at the top of the drivers’ championship to 85 points as Alexander Rossi failed to score once again, dropping down to third in the standings behind Rio Haryanto.

Like F1, GP2 now embarks on its summer break, and will return in support of the Belgian Grand Prix at the end of August.