Sergey Sirotkin recovered from a penalty for pitting under the Virtual Safety Car to claim his second GP2 Series victory in a row in a thrilling feature race on Saturday at Hockenheim.
Starting from pole, Sirotkin made a clean getaway to ease into an early lead as championship leader Pierre Gasly bogged down from second on the grid, causing him to drop outside of the top 10.
Sirotkin led from Raffaele Marciello early on before the Italian driver made a brave pass for the lead down the inside of Turn 8 on lap four.
The Virtual Safety Car was called after contact between Artem Markelov and Jordan King three laps later, prompting ART to react immediately. The team called Sirotkin in to make his mandatory pit stop, ensuring that he would not lose much time while the field was circulating slowly.
However, Sirotkin failed to enter the pit lane before the VSC was called, resulting in a stewards investigation as drivers are not permitted to stop under the VSC in GP2.
After a lengthy discussion, the GP2 stewards opted to scratch Sirotkin’s first stop, meaning he still had to make his mandatory visit to the pit lane.
Sirotkin pitted from the lead with 11 laps remaining, emerging in fourth place before scything his way up to second place behind Marciello once again.
Further VSC periods were kind to Sirotkin, allowing him to put his fresher soft tires to good use and catch Marciello before passing with five laps remaining.
Sirotkin did not look back, charging to his second win of the season and capping off one of the all-time great fightbacks in GP2.
Luca Ghiotto finished second for Trident after passing Marciello on the final lap, with Gasly completing the podium after also getting past the ailing Italian on the final corner. Marciello was left to settle for fourth, his GP2 win drought now set to reach two years in Belgium.
Arthur Pic finished fifth for Rapax ahead of Oliver Rowland and Gustav Malja, while Alex Lynn secured reverse grid pole for Sunday’s sprint race by finishing eighth despite a time penalty.
Sunday’s GP2 sprint race from Hockenheim is live on the NBC Sports app and at f1stream.nbcsports.com from 4:25am ET.