Marciello battles to secure first win in Belgium

Raffaele Marciello

Image credit – GP2 Media Service

Before the Feature Race got underway, the heavens had opened and soaked the track from start to finish. Takuya Izawa, Stéphane Richelmi and Daniël de Jong were the only drivers to start the race on slick tyres.

As the race began, the rain started to fall again and it fell in deludes. Stoffel Vandoorne maintained his lead from pole position but Jolyon Palmer surrendered seven positions, falling to P9. His championship rival Felipe Nasr gained positions from P11 and climbed to P7 as Mitch Evans joined Vandoorne at the front.

Conor Daly crashed out of the race on the first lap at Paul Frère corner. Shortly after, the rain became too intense and the safety car was deployed. Mitch Evans and Julián Leal had technical issues due to low temperatures but managed to continue. The race was red flagged as the rain intensified further. After 20 minutes and some confusion over the running order, the safety car led the cars around to restart the race.

When the race got underway again, Johnny Cecotto seized the advantage at La Source and took the race lead from Vandoorne. Four corners later at Les Combes the Venezuelan ran wide but didn’t appear to gain an advantage. Further round the lap Cecotto was ordered to give the position back to Vandoorne, something he duly did.

Ten laps into the race Cecotto lost another position; this time to Raffaele Marciello. The Racing Engineering driver had been looking racy since the race start and having got past Cecotto, he set his sights on the race leader Vandoorne.

Simon Trummer and Nat Berthon were scrapping over P5 and it ended in a bad way. Trummer lunged at Berthon at turn seven but the Frenchman chopped him off and the pair collided. Berthon was deemed responsible and he served a drive through penalty. Stefano Coletti was another driver involved in a crash. Sergio Canamasas gave him absolutely no room coming into Les Combes and the Monegasque driver was launched over the kerbs and into the barrier and a retirement.

Having started from the pit lane, Artem Markelov was passing drivers with no difficulty. Tom Dillmann gave him a hard time of it and after some wheel rubbing, Markelov secured P8.

The race leader Stoffel Vandoorne stopped for a fresh set of wet tyres with nine laps to go, giving the race lead to Raffaele Marciello. The Italian stopped three laps later but came out behind Vandoorne. Two laps on the newest tyres saw Marciello gain two seconds a lap on Vandoorne which gave him the advantage which he used to pass the Belgian at turn eight.

With a gap stretched to two seconds, Raffaele Marciello came across the line to record his very first victory in the GP2 Series. He led home Stoffel Vandoorne who secured a podium finish on home soil and Johnny Cecotto. Artem Markelov finished in seventh place to secure his first points this season. Daniel Abt will start the Sprint Race on pole position having finished in eighth.

Position Driver Team Gap
1 Marciello Racing Engineering 1:19:29.116
2 Vandoorne ART Grand Prix 2.088
3 Cecotto Trident 35.375
4 Nasr Carlin 39.831
5 Evans RT RUSSIAN TIME 50.526
6 Palmer DAMS 60.123
7 Markelov RT RUSSIAN TIME 61.166
8 Abt Hilmer Motorsport 61.776
9 Negrão Arden International 62.872
10 De Jong MP Motorsport 65.435
11 Quaife-Hobbs Rapax 71.224
12 Dillmann EQ8 Caterham Racing 76.681
13 Leal Carlin 77.071
14 Sørensen MP Motorsport 78.325
15 Pic Campos Racing 78.578
16 Izawa ART Grand Prix 79.110
17 Sato Campos Racing 81.789
18 Trummer Rapax 82.766
19 Lancaster Hilmer Motorsport 92.099
20 Canamasas Trident 93.957
21 Richelmi DAMS 94.528
22 Berthon Venezuela GP Lazarus 110.554
23 Haryanto EQ8 Caterham Racing DNF
24 Coletti Racing Engineering DNF
25 Binder Arden International DNF
26 Daly Venezuela GP Lazarus DNF

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