Sergey Sirotkin has given his flagging GP2 Series title hopes a major boost by claiming a dominant sprint race victory at the Hungaroring.
The Russian started sixth after finishing third in the sprint race, but a storming start would see him up to second position by the first corner behind Jordan King, who converted his reverse grid pole position into an initial lead.
With a pile-up at turn two – triggered when Arthur Pic spun into the path of the field – eliminating Nobuharu Matsushita, Alex Lynn and Luca Ghitto and prompting a safety car, a mistake by King at the final corner ahead of the restart would give Sirotkin the run on him into turn one.
With King defending hard, the pair would go side-by-side through turns one, two and three until the Russian finally nosed ahead at the turn four kink.
From here the ART driver – a pre-season title favourite – would cruise home for a long-awaited first win of the 2016 season, one that keeps him on the cusp of the title fight with five rounds remaining.
King held on for a lonely second, with team-mate Norman Nato making it two Racing Engineering drivers on the podium in third position.
Benefiting from the Turn 2 melee, Artem Markelov, Mitch Evans and Oliver Rowland progressed up the order to secure points in fourth, fifth and sixth, with race winner Pierre Gasly extending his advantage over Prema team—mate Antonio Giovinazzi in the standings by finishing seventh with the fastest lap.
Indeed, Giovinazzi's hopes of points were scuppered at the first corner when he out-braked himself and clipped Matsushita. With damage to his front-wing forcing him to pit, the Italian would also be given a penalty as punishment for the contact.