© GP2 Series

Giovinazzi doubles up in Baku after chaotic GP2 sprint race

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Antonio Giovinazzi became the first driver to win twice in a single GP2 race weekend since 2012 after scoring a dramatic victory in Baku on Sunday.

Giovinazzi started eighth by virtue of the reverse grid, but dropped to last in the early stages as McLaren junior Nobuharu Matushita moved into the lead.

The Japanese driver saw his advantage over Daniel de Jong in second place fade when the safety car was deployed following a shunt involving Jordan King and Jimmy Eriksson.

Matushita momentarily lost the lead on the restart to Oliver Rowland, only for the Briton to lock up and drop behind once again.

A second caution period was called after Philo Paz Armand went off, with Matsushita assuming control of the pack when the safety car peeled in.

Matsushita returned to racing speed before slamming on the brakes, forcing the rest of the pack behind to seek evasive action. The questionable tactic sparked a clash that forced Gustav Malja, Mitch Evans and Sean Galeal all to retire, while Rowland also got caught up in the incident.

Once the safety car had made a third appearance, Matsushita led the field away again, only to be taken out by Raffaele Marciello at the first corner in an act of karma that sparked applause from the drivers that had retired as a result of his actions.

Amid the chaos, Pierre Gasly had assumed the lead for Prema Powerteam, running ahead of teammate Giovinazzi who piled on the pressure heading into the final lap.

Gasly ran wide at Turn 1, handing the lead to Giovinazzi who was then able to hold the Frenchman back despite his DRS being broken and pick up his second GP2 win in as many days.

The last driver to do the double on a single weekend was Davide Valsecchi, who won twice in Bahrain in 2012 en route to winning the series title.

Gasly was left to settle for second place, meaning that his three-year win drought continues, while Sergey Sirotkin completed the podium for ART Grand Prix.

Jordan King recovered to finish fourth ahead of Artem Markelov, who rises to the top of the drivers’ standings. Sergio Canamasas finished the race sixth ahead of Nabil Jeffri and Arthur Pic, while Alex Lynn and Marvin Kirchhofer rounded out the top 10.

GP2 returns in two weeks’ time in support of the Austrian Grand Prix in Spielberg.

INDYCAR: Patricio O’Ward turns heads in Carlin debut

Chris Jones / IndyCar
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While the top story coming out of Sunday’s IndyCar Classic at Circuit of the Americas is undoubtedly 18-year-old Colton Herta’s victory in only his third IndyCar start, another teenager made quite some noise during the first IndyCar race at the facility.

19-year-old Patricio O’Ward made an impressive start to his 2019 IndyCar campaign by starting and finishing in eighth position. It was the first of his 13 races this season for Carlin Racing.

“I think it was a pretty good race for us. We ended exactly where we started and didn’t go backwards, so I’d say that was a successful day” O’Ward said. “I know the No. 31 Carlin Chevrolet had a top-five finish in it today and even though we couldn’t make it happen, it’s nice to know that we have the pace and can be fighting up front with the veteran drivers.”

O’Ward, the 2018 Indy Lights champ, made his series debut for Harding Steinbrenner Racing at last year’s season finale at Sonoma Raceway, where he made it to the Firestone Fast Six in qualifying and finished ninth. O’Ward was scheduled to race for the team full-time in 2019, but left in early February to pursue other options due to a lack of sponsorship.

Pato found a new home with Carlin, and despite missing preseason testing, he proved to be competitive from the get go and pressured some of IndyCar’s more tenured drivers, including Graham Rahal.

In what was undoubtedly the most daring move of the race, O’Ward ended a great battle with Rahal by hitting a superb outside pass on Lap 15.

O’Ward may have likely earned a better result on Sunday, if he didn’t have to save fuel in order to make the finish.

But with only two IndyCar starts to his credit, he is already racing like a seasoned veteran. Sunday’s IndyCar Classic may be the first of many successful outings for him this year.

After the race, he tweeted to his team: “Well done gentlemen … This is only the beginning.”

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