• GP2 - Italian GP - Race 1

Vandoorne holds on for third victory

ESPN Staff
September 6, 2014
© Sutton Images

Stoffel Vandoorne led from lights to flag and held off a late challenge from Arthur Pic to he record his third victory of the GP2 season.

Championship standings

  • Jolyon Palmer 216 pts
  • Felipe Nasr 186 pts
  • Stoffel Vandoorne 164 pts
  • Johnny Cecotto Jr 128 pts
  • Mitch Evans 125 pts

The McLaren junior made amends for his home race at Spa, where he was passed by Raffaele Marciello late on following a thrilling battle for the lead. It looked like a repeat could be in store as Pic chipped a four-second lead down to just six tenths but Vandoorne held on, while Mitch Evans rounded off the podium.

Vandoorne had got off the line cleanly and immediately moved to his right to defend from Pic, who started second. Everyone got through the first chicane clearly on the first lap but on the second Kimiya Sato collected Daniel de Jong, meaning Takuya Izawa and Rene Binder made contact to force Maricello - who was recovering from an awful start - onto the gravel where he retired. This early drama all played into the hands of championship leader Jolyon Palmer, who was making up positions from a penalty which saw him start from the back of the grid.

In fact Palmer was as high as second on lap 20, albeit because he had started on the prime tyre and emerged in the middle of a battle between Julian Leal and Stefano Coletti. Despite being on cold rubber Palmer soon made light work of Coletti to move into eighth - where he would remain, not only claiming reverse-grid pole for Sunday's pole but also an extra point for fastest lap. Palmer's damage limitation was helped even further as championship rival Felipe Nasr failed to find a way past an inspired Andre Negrao in fifth, meaning the Brazilian cut just two points off the deficit.

Out in front Vandoorne had been relatively untroubled but soon had Pic looming larger and larger in his mirrors. But the McLaren driver stayed calm under pressure to take the chequered flag and will have done himself plenty of favours with Ron Dennis in the Monza paddock and speculation rife about the team's 2015 line-up.

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