Giovinazzi scores first GP2 victory in Baku feature race

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Antonio Giovinazzi scored his first victory in the GP2 Series on Saturday after weathering a frenetic feature race at the Baku City Circuit.

Formula 1’s premier feeder series offered the first racing action at the street course in Baku, Azerbaijan, with incidents coming thick and fast throughout.

Giovinazzi started the race from pole, but dropped to sixth as a number of drivers tangled at the first corner.

ART driver Nobuharhu Matsushita emerged in the lead, only to lose out to Raffaele Marciello on the restart after the first of four safety car periods.

Giovinazzi began to dial in his car more and more as the race wore on, allowing him to pass Oliver Rowland, Matsushita and ultimately Marciello to take the lead with nine laps remaining.

A long safety car period followed to allow the safe removal of Norman Nato’s stricken car, leaving enough time for just two laps of green flag running once the track had been cleared.

Giovinazzi managed to hold on in the final dash to the line to record both his and Prema Powerteam’s first GP2 victory since entering the series at the beginning of the season.

Sergey Sirotkin made the most of the late drama to rise to second at the checkered flag, beating Marciello into third. Rowland was left to settle for P4 ahead of Mitch Evans and Matushita.

Just 10 cars finished the race, allowing some of GP2’s regular backmarkers to pick up points. Sean Galeal ended up seventh ahead of Daniel de Jong and Luca Ghiotto, while Gustav Malja rounded out the classification.