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GP2 Hockenheimring: Sirotkin claims controversial Hockenheim win

Sergey Sirotkin gives his GP2 title hopes a boost despite a controversial Hockenheimring race that saw him forced to pit twice.
NB: Pierre Gasly excluded post-race after fire extinguisher is set off during the race

Sergey Sirotkin has given his GP2 Series title hopes a significant boost with victory in the Hockenheimring feature race, albeit in fairly controversial circumstances after confusion over his pit-stop under a Virtual Safety Car.

Starting from pole position, Sirotkin led away – leaving behind Pierre Gasly after he bogged down from second and dropped to 12th - but would lose the lead on lap four to a charging Raffaele Marciello.

However, confusion would be reign on lap 6 when Artem Markelov crashed into Jordan King at the hairpin, forcing the deployment of the Virtual Safety Car.

Though pitting is not allowed under the VSC, it was called just as Sirotkin was entering the pits, with confusion as to whether he was aware it had started. With the field forced into a crawl, Sirotkin came out onto the track in fourth place and within sight of the lead, but under investigation.

From here, the race would unfold according to strategy with Marciello ahead from Alex Lynn and Nicholas Latifi, before Sirotkin resumed the lead as others came in.

However, stewards would decide that Sirotkin's first stop no longer counted, forcing him to pit again, which he would do on lap 26 of 38 to return to the track in fourth.

Despite this, the ART's fresher tyres would see him rapidly make up lap time to be second by lap 30 before charging down Marciello and passing for the lead again with six laps to go. A measure of the advantage he would end up having by the forced second stop, Sirotkin would go on to win by a clear 13secs, thus contesting that the penalty was potentially an advantage.

With those that started later ultimately benefiting given the sheer tyre wear, Luca Ghiotto clawed his way up to second place from 14th on the grid, the Trident driver surviving a brush with Jordan King along the way, one that would ultimately put the Briton out of contention.

Gasly completed the podium, stopping late to counter his terrible getaway and scything through the order in the final laps, ending when he snatched third across the line from the fading Marciello in fourth.

However, the Prema driver was later disqualified after his fire extinguisher was deployed in the race, promoting Marciello back to third.

A strong race for the Rapax team, the Italian outfit got both of its cars into the points with Arthur Pic fourth and Gustav Malja sixth, the pair split by Oliver Rowland, whose fifth came despite pitting early and getting caught out by 2 poorly-timed VSC periods.

After Gasly's DQ, Antonio Giovinazzi will ensure a Prema car starts from pole, with Alex Lynn alongside him, though only after he was demoted with a ten-second time penalty for nudging Norman Nato out of the race in the heat of battle.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sergey Sirotkin - ART Grand Prix
Sergey Sirotkin - ART Grand Prix
Gustav Malja F2 2017
Nobuharu Matsushita - ART Grand Prix [credit: Formula 2]
Charles Leclerc - PREMA Racing
Charles Leclerc, Prema Racing, F2, Formula 2, Bahrain
Charles Leclerc - PREMA Racing
Charles Leclerc - PREMA Racing
Artem Markelov, F2, Bahrain
Artem Markelov
Norman Nato, Bahrain F2 2017, Formula 2
Charles Leclerc, Prema Racing, Formula 2, 2017
Nabil Jeffri, Team Trident [Credit: Team Trident]
Alexander Albon - ART Grand Prix [GP2 Series]
Gustav Malja - Racing Engineering [credit: GP2 Series]
Pierre Gasly - PREMA Racing
Alex Lynn - DAMS
Pierre Gasly - PREMA Racing

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