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GP2: Vandoorne wraps up 2015 title in Sochi

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Stoffel Vandoorne has been crowned the 2015 GP2 Series champion after finishing fourth in Sunday’s sprint race at the Sochi Autodrom in Russia.

Vandoorne, 23, has dominated proceedings throughout the GP2 season, claiming five victories and setting a new record for consecutive pole positions earlier in the year.

The McLaren junior driver had been expected to secure the title on Saturday in Russia, but victory for America’s Alexander Rossi forced him to postpone celebrations until Sunday.

Vandoorne managed to finish the sprint race in fourth place, beating Rossi in sixth, to give himself an unassailable lead with four races remaining.

“We knew before coming here [winning the title] was our target,” Vandoorne said. “We could have done it yesterday, but things did not go 100% our way. But crossing the line in fourth today ahead of Alexander Rossi was enough to do it. That’s what counts in the end.

“The job is done and now I have two weekends left in the season. I will be relaxed and have no pressure. I will push really hard for a couple more victories and finish the season on a high.

“To be crowned with two rounds to spare, it shows all the work we’ve done this season and how good it’s been together with ART. We’ve achieved great things over the past two years. We’ve broke nearly all the records this season. It’s one that I will definitely remember forever.”

Vandoorne will now be trying to find a place on the Formula 1 grid in 2016, but may be set for a year on the sidelines given the lack of seats available. As champion, he is unable to return to GP2.

However, the fashion in which the Belgian has won the title has outlined him as a surefire star for the future in F1, and will make McLaren’s driver dilemma all the more difficult in the future.

NBCSN will present ‘Race and Sports in America: Conversations’ Monday

NBCSN
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With motor racing reckoning with its own issues of diversity and equality, “Race and Sports in America: Conversations” will tackle the topics of social justice with several athletes. The show will air at 8 p.m. ET Monday, July 13 on NBCSN, Golf Channel, Olympic channel and on regional sports networks.

The roundtable discussions will be hosted by Damon Hack and feature Charles Barkley, Steph Curry, Jimmy Rollins and Ozzie Smith in one segment. The other segment will include Kyle Rudolph, Anthony Lynn, Troy Mullins and James Blake.

Race has been a major topic in motorsports this year.

NASCAR banned the Confederate flag at its race after lobbying by Bubba Wallace, the only Black driver in the premier Cup Series. In Formula One, six-time series champion Lewis Hamilton has joined Black Lives Matter marches in London and also formed a panel on diversity. The lone Black driver in F1 also led 14 of 20 drivers taking a knee before the season opener in Austria.