Stoffel Vandoorne’s domination of the 2015 GP2 Series season continued on Friday as he eased to his sixth win of the season in Bahrain.
GP2 returned to Bahrain this weekend to make up for the cancellation of the races supporting the German Grand Prix, appearing on the undercard of the FIA World Endurance Championship finale.
Despite having the championship already won, Vandoorne arrived in Bahrain keen to replicate his perfect display in the opening race of the season when he was victorious from pole position.
The Belgian was forced to settle for second on the grid behind Pierre Gasly, but got the jump on the Frenchman on the first lap to take the lead.
Vandoorne spent the early stage of the race with an advantage of around two seconds over Gasly, but managed to increase his lead to over 12 seconds by pushing towards the end of his first stint.
After re-emerging from the pits in the lead, Vandoorne eased home for his sixth win of the year ahead of teammate Nobuharu Matsushita, who had made a longer first stint give him the chance to push late on. The one-two finish saw ART Grand Prix wrap up the GP2 teams’ championship.
Russian Time’s Mitch Evans completed the podium, but was fortunate to make it that far after being hit by American driver Alexander Rossi with seven laps to go. Rossi sustained front wing damage and was forced to pit before eventually finishing down in 18th position.
Williams development driver Alex Lynn will start Saturday’s sprint race from pole after finishing eighth on Friday.
“A huge blessing for us there,” Tomac told host Mike Tirico during a “Lunch Talk Live” interview (click on the video above) in which he also joked about becoming a pro at busting off diaper changes. “That was one good blessing for us as we had our daughter on a Sunday, that would have been on a travel day coming back from the race in Las Vegas.
“That was probably the only positive out of all this mess was being able to be there for the birth.”
The elevation could favor Tomac, who was born and lives in Colorado and is accustomed to riding and training at altitude, which is a departure for many Supercross riders (many of whom hail from California and Florida).
“That’s going to be the test for us,” said the Kawasaki rider, who five of the first 10 races this season. “We’re at elevation in Salt Lake, so when you’re on a motorcycle, you have a little bit of a loss of power. That’s just what happens when you come up in elevation. And a lot of guys train at sea level, and we’re at 4,000 to 5,000 feet, so cardio-wise, we’ll be pushed to the limit.
“Most of our races are Saturday nights and back to back weeks, but this go around it’s Sunday and Wednesday, so recovery is going to be key.”
“Most of us we can rely on our past riding pretty well,” Tomac said. “The question is if you can go the distance. That’s what a lot of guys have to train on is going the distance. We go 20 minutes plus a lap. That’s what you’ve got to keep sharp is your general muscles. Within two to three days, your brain starts warming up more if you take a few weeks off the motorcycle.”
Here is the schedule and TV information for the rest of the season:
Sunday, May 31 (3-4 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4-6 p.m. ET, NBC);
Wednesday, June 3 ( 10:00 pm – 1:00 am ET, NBCSN);
Sunday, June 7 (5-8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
Wednesday, June 10 (7–10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
Sunday, June 14 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
Wednesday, June 17 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
Sunday, June 21 (3-4:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. ET, NBC).