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Hulkenberg sweeps to maiden GP2 win

Nico Hulkenberg has become the first GP2 Series driver to win a race under floodlights as he swept to victory in only his second outing at Losail.

The German made headlines on his debut last time out in Bahrain when he claimed pole position on his debut, a feat he would repeat around the Qatari circuit. However, while he faded to fourth place on that occasion, the German made amends this time by dominating once he had assumed the lead.

The first victory of the season for ART Grand Prix, winners last season with Romain Grosjean, Hulkenberg had only a tardy start and an early safety car period to stutter his progress as he came home a dominant 13secs winner over fellow GP2 rookie Sergio Perez.

The start of the race had been marred by a spectacular accident involving Sakon Yamamoto and Yelmer Buurman, caused when the former stalled for the second race in succession. However, while everyone avoided his stricken car in Bahrain, Buurman, who had started 23rd compared Yamamoto's sixth, was less fortunate and collided with the stricken ART driver at considerable speed.

Once the race restarted, it was Perez that led the way early on, ahead of the fast-starting Javier Villa, although the Spaniard's leap from seventh to second would be punished with a stop-go penalty later in the race.

Despite his slow getaway, Hulkenberg's tactic to preserve his tyres – which he failed to do in Bahrain – was paying dividends mid-race to the point that when others began pitting, he upped his pace considerably.

Displaying phenomenal speed, Hulkenberg pitted later than the majority of his rivals and in doing so emerged from his mandatory pit-stop clutching a lead of almost ten seconds over Vitaly Petrov, who had leapfrogged his Campos team-mate Perez through the pit-stops too.

The Mexican driver was not to be denied though, snatching second off the more experienced Russian to record his second straight podium position.

Still, with a 13secs margin between himself and winner Hulkenberg, there was no doubting who had been the star driver. A fine performance in only his third GP2 start, Hulkenberg is already up to third position in the standings.

The lead of the championship remains firmly in the hands of Kamui Kobayashi, who endured a quieter than usual race as he followed Perez and Petrov home in fourth position. However, with his closest title rival, Davide Valsecchi, finishing just behind in sixth, he has extended his advantage to 12 points.

Between them was Kobayashi's DAMS team-mate Jerome d'Ambrosio, up from tenth position on the grid, while Edoardo Mortara and Luiz Razia rounded out the points to ensure Arden lock out the front row for the sprint race.


Related Pictures

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Nico Hulkenberg takes pole position for the fourh round of the GP2 Asia Series at Losail.
2015 GP2 Series Round 7. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Alexander Rossi (USA, Racing Engineering). Photo: Zak Mauger/GP2 Series Media Service
2015 GP2 Series Round 6. Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary. Saturday 25 July 2015. Daniel de Jong (NED, MP Motorsport) Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Media Service
2015 GP3 Series Round 5. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Luca Ghiotto (ITA, Trident) Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Media Service
2015 GP2 Series Round 7. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Cars line up on the grid for the race. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Media Service
2015 GP2 Series Round 7. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Alexander Rossi (USA, Racing Engineering), Jordan King (GBR, Racing Engineering) & Mitch Evans (NZL, RUSSIAN TIME) Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Media Service
2015 GP3 Series Round 5. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Luca Ghiotto (ITA, Trident) celebrates his win in parc ferme. Photo: Zak Mauger/GP3 Series Media Service
2015 GP3 Series Round 5. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Luca Ghiotto (ITA, Trident) celebrates his win on the podium. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service
2015 GP3 Series Round 5. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Luca Ghiotto (ITA, Trident), celebrates on the podium with Esteban Ocon (FRA, ART Grand Prix) and 4. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service
2015 GP2 Series Round 7. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Alexander Rossi (USA, Racing Engineering) leads Jordan King (GBR, Racing Engineering) and the rest of the field at the start. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Media Service
2015 GP2 Series Round 7. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Alexander Rossi (USA, Racing Engineering) celebrates on the podium with Jordan King (GBR, Racing Engineering). Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Media Service
2015 GP3 Series Round 5. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Matthew Parry (GBR, Koiranen GP) crashes into a wall. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service
2015 GP3 Series Round 5. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Luca Ghiotto (ITA, Trident) crosses the line to take the win. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service
Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Saturday 22 August 2015. Race One Press Conference. Emil Bernstorff (GBR, Arden International), Esteban Ocon (FRA, ART Grand Prix) and Marvin Kirchhofer (GER, ART Grand Prix). Photo: Zak Mauger/GP3 Series Media Service.
2015 GP2 Series Round 7. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Saturday 22 August 2015. The Safety car is deployed Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Media Service
2015 GP2 Series Round 7. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Thursday 20 August 2015. Daniel de Jong (NED, MP Motorsport). Photo: Zak Mauger/GP2 Series Media Service.
Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Saturday 22 August 2015. Esteban Ocon (FRA, ART Grand Prix) celebrates his win in Parc Ferme. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service
Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Saturday 22 August 2015. Esteban Ocon (FRA, ART Grand Prix), leads Emil Bernstorff (GBR, Arden International), Kevin Ceccon (ITA, Arden International) and the rest of the field at the start of the race. Photo: Zak Mauger/GP3 Series Media Service.

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