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.

F1: Lewis Hamilton takes pole position at rain-soaked Styrian GP

JOE KLAMAR/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
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SPIELBERG, Austria — Six-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton showed he’s still the best driver in wet conditions, keeping his composure on a rain-drenched track to take pole position Saturday for the Styrian Grand Prix.

It was the Mercedes driver’s record-extending 89th career pole in F1 and particularly impressive as he first beat Red Bull driver Max Verstappen’s mark and then his own leading mark on his final lap.

“That was awesome,” Hamilton said after placing 1.216 seconds ahead of Verstappen (who led practice Friday) and 1.398 clear of McLaren driver Carlos Sainz Jr.

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Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas qualified fourth after taking pole position and winning last Sunday’s Austrian GP.

It was another dismal day for Ferrari, with Sebastian Vettel 10th and Charles Leclerc 11th.

Driving rain washed out the third and final practice session at midday and threatened qualifying altogether. But the cars managed to finally get out onto the Red Bull Ring at around 3:45 p.m. local time (1345 GMT) even though rain was still lashing down.

In the event of a complete washout, qualifying would have been moved to Sunday morning.

With drivers told the rain would soon get heavier, they were advised to post a solid time quickly in order to get into the second part of qualifying.

Verstappen said, “I can’t see a thing,” and Romain Grosjean slid off track into gravel.

Some unexpected names popped up at the top of the F1 leaderboard, before order was restored as Lewis Hamilton, Bottas and Verstappen swapped leading times.

“Leave me to it,” Hamilton said over radio, trying to keep his concentration with water spraying everywhere in front and around him.

With two minutes left in Q1, Italian driver Antonio Giovinazzi lost control of his Alfa Romeo, which swerved sideways and then backward into a crash barrier. His car had to be lifted off the track.

The rain fell so heavily throughout the morning that firefighters had to remove excess water from the roof of one empty hospitality building. The race is being held without fans because of the novel coronavirus (COVD-19) pandemic.

The race is changing names from last week but still is being held at the same track in Spielberg, which is surrounded by the Styrian mountains.