SIROTKIN FLIES TO SPRINT RACE WIN
The groundwork for the win was set up at the start: poleman King made a good escape when the lights went out but Nato was slow away from second and was soon fighting with Nobuharu Matsushita, but Sirotkin was faster than them both to slide inside the squabble and into P2 at Turn one, with his teammate coming together with Antonio Giovinazzi behind him and Raffaele Marciello running wide to avoid the collision.
Arthur Pic spun on his own at Turn two and triggered mayhem: Gustav Malja ran over Alex Lynn’s rear wheel, with the Swede continuing but the Briton out on the spot, while Matsushita and Luca Ghiotto found the outside barriers for early retirement, spurring a safety car period to remove the four cars. The race was to go live on lap 4, but at the front King ran wide at Turn 13 and Sirotkin was all over him: the pair ran side by side all the way to Turn 4 when the Russian broke through into the lead, and within seconds he was gone.
Sirotkin set a string of fastest laps to set up a lead that was never to be challenged, putting on a driving masterclass to win by almost five seconds from King, who thereafter had a lonely race for a solid second place. Teammate Nato held on for a podium despite constant pressure from Artem Markelov, who overtook former teammate Mitch Evans for 4th just 8 laps in but was unable to repeat the move on the Frenchman, while Oliver Rowland stared at the New Zealander’s exhaust pipe for much of the race but just couldn’t get by. Pierre Gasly moved up to P7 and claimed points for the fastest lap, while Marciello grabbed the last point of the race in 8th place.
Gasly leaves Budapest in the lead of the drivers’ standings ahead of teammate Giovinazzi on 107 points to 96, with Marciello third on 85 points ahead of Rowland on 83, Nato on 81, King on 80, Evans on 77 and Sirotkin joining his rivals on 70 points, while in the teams’ fight PREMA Racing extend their lead over Racing Engineering by 203 points to 161, ahead of RUSSIAN TIME on 150 and ART Grand Prix on 126 points as the grid looks toward the next round of the championship in Hockenheim next week.