CLICK: Full Sunday race 2 results
Patric Niederhauser made a splash when he arrived in GP3 two years ago and quickly clinched two race wins at Valencia and Hockenheim, but since then it's been a frustratingly lean spell for the 22-year-old from Switzerland with regards to finding the top step of the podium again. That drought finally ended on Sunday morning at the Hungaroring, when a text book start allowed the Arden driver to control the second GP3 race of the weekend and claim what was ultimately an easy win.
It had been ART's Dino Zamparelli who had been on pole position alongside Jann Mardenborough after finishing in eighth place on Saturday, but when the lights came out he could manage only a mediocre start and found himself in an Arden sandwich between Mardenborough and the fast-starting Niederhauser in the run down to the first corner. Mardenborough didn't have the track position and was compelled to fall back and left to battle it out for position with Robert Visoiu, the third member of the Arden squad who had enjoyed a great start to the race from the third row. Mardenborough was able to hold on to the position, while Visoiu was himself successfully challenged for fourth by Carlin's Alex Lynn on the first lap.
At the front, Niederhauser and Zamparelli went through the first corners wheel-to-wheel, but the Swiss driver had the superior track position and eventually Zamparelli was forced to yield to the inevitable and pull in behind Niederhauser, releasing the Swiss driver into the lead of the race. Although Zamparelli tried to fight back with the fastest lap next time by it was already too late, Niederhauser having taken full control of the race and soon able to pull away.
The opening corners had been surprisingly clean, the drivers taking care not to have any significant contact through the first corners. Status GP's Alfonso Celis Jr had trouble getting off the grid and was lucky not to be rear-ended by Riccardo Agostini in the Hilmer Motorsport, but he was eventually able to get underway and rejoin the race. That meant the only retirement of the day proved to be Santiago Urrutia who lost the back end of his Koiranen GP car and spun off into the gravel at turn 5 on the third lap.
Marussia Manor Racing's Dean Stoneman had also made a good start, gaining three places in the opening seconds to put him into sixth place. However he lost his momentum after that, soon falling foul of an ambitious overtaking move from Saturday race winner Richie Stanaway in the Status GP, and then losing a further position to Carlin's Emil Bernstorff in the closing laps to drop him to eighth place. Stoneman needed to drive defensively for the remaining laps to ensure he didn't lost a further position to ART's Marvin Kirchhöfer who was circulating immediately behind him in ninth.
Tyre degradation was relatively even during the race and never became a sufficiently major factor to really help shake up the running order. Niederhauser was able to pull out a two second lead over Zamparelli and the pair soon had three seconds in hand over Mardenborough who was still being harassed by Lynn and Visoiu immediately behind him in what proved to be some of the best racing action of the race. Lynn had hopes of jumping Mardenborough for third place in the final laps but never found the right opportunity, even when the Arden started to struggle and lock up. Further back, moves by Agostini on Carlin man Luis Sa Silva for 18th and by ART's Alex Fontana on Trident's Roman de Beer for 12th provided some further moments of excitement but ultimately came to nought.
Although Niederhauser eased off in the final moments of the race and allowed Zamparelli to get back within a second and a half by the chequered flag, he never appeared under threat as he made sure of his third win in the GP3 Series. Coming in behind Mardenborough, Alex Lynn had to be satisfied with his second fourth place finish of the weekend - rather slim pickings by his own standards, but enough to ensure that he was able to pad out his championship lead over Stanaway and Koiranen GP's Jimmy Eriksson.
Lynn has now amassed 134 points in his title campaign, putting him 31 ahead of Stanaway who consolidated his hold on second place in the standings by adding four points to his tally while Eriksson ended up pointless after finishing in 16th. In the team standings, Carlin have 223 points putting them 46 points clear of Status GP as GP3 heads into its August summer break.
The next race on the GP3 calendar is at Spa-Francorchamps on 22-24 August.
See full Sunday race 2 results