American driver Alexander Rossi charged from eighth place on the grid to claim his second win of the 2015 GP2 Series season at Monza on Saturday.
Rossi qualified in tenth place on Friday, but gained two positions due to penalties for Mitch Evans and Sergio Canamasas before making a good start to move up the order.
Another position came Rossi’s way when race leader Pierre Gasly’s wheel was not attached properly at his pit stop, and when Alex Lynn and Sergey Sirotkin came to blows at the first chicane fighting for first place, the American gained two more places.
With fresher tires, Rossi began to catch new leader Stoffel Vandoorne at the front before diving down the inside at the first chicane to gain first place.
Despite coming under pressure from championship leader Vandoorne in the closing stages, Rossi was able to soak it up before crossing the line to clinch his second GP2 victory in just 13 days following his win at Spa.
“Oh boys, yes yes yes yes!” Rossi cried over the radio to his Racing Engineering team after taking the checkered flag. “Thank you! Thank you so much!”
To make the result all the more crucial to Rossi, it came on a race weekend that Gene Haas was attending as speculation about his team’s driver line-up for its 2016 debut continues to circulate.
Rossi admitted after Spa that the timing of his victory was “perfect”, and this result will undoubtedly have caught the attention of Haas as he narrows down his driver shortlist for next season.
Completing the podium in third place was Russian Time’s Mitch Evans, who fought from 23rd place on the grid after being excluded from qualifying to finish fourth on track. Norman Nato dropped from P3 at the line to sixth overall thanks to a time penalty.
As Saturday’s race winner, Rossi will start tomorrow’s GP2 sprint race from eight place on the reverse grid.