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.