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GP2: Vandoorne wins again in Bahrain, secures ART title

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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.

Valtteri Bottas wins chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix

Mark Thompson/Getty Images
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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas won a chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix while six-time series champion Lewis Hamilton finished fourth after getting a late time penalty Sunday.

The Formula One race was interrupted three times by a safety car, and nine of 20 drivers abandoned, including both Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon – who tried to overtake Hamilton on the outside with 10 laps left, touched wheels and flew off track.

Hamilton was given a 5-second time penalty for causing the collision, having earlier been hit with a three-place grid penalty after an incident in Saturday’s qualifying was reviewed by stewards.

SHOW OF SUPPORT: Drivers take knee before race

Bottas led all 71 laps in the eighth victory of his career. It was the second consecutive victory in the season opener for the Finn, though he won four months earlier in 2019 after this season’s start was delayed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Lando Norris of McLaren F1 celebrates after his first podium finish (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).

Bottas started from pole position and Hamilton from fifth, but it looked like a straight fight between the two Mercedes drivers as has been the case so often in recent years.

But late drama in Spielberg ensured otherwise and Hamilton’s time penalty meant Charles Leclerc took second place for Ferrari, and Lando Norris sent McLaren’s garage into raptures – and threw all social distancing rules out of the window amid the euphoria – with third place.

It was the 20-year-old British driver’s first career podium, and his superb final lap was the fastest of a dramatic season opener.

Norris became the youngest British driver to secure a podium finish and the third-youngest ever in Formula One.

Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).