| The weather for today’s 32 lap Feature race was cooler than it had been for practice bur warmer than qualifying with air and track temperatures of 30° and 49° respectively and windy conditions leaving the track dusty. The Racing Engineering cars were starting on the Pirelli P Zero Yellow soft compound tyres but some of the other runners had opted for the Pirelli P Zero White medium compound.
Both Racing Engineering cars got away well although Jordan dropped a place to 7th but Alexander held on to 8th. Alexander passed his teammate for 7th as the cars completed the first lap and he was now chasing Pic and Gasly and at the end of lap 2 the young American was 0.7 seconds behind Gasly and 1.1 seconds ahead of Jordan. On lap four an accident between four cars ahead of Alexander saw the Safety Car deployed and the Racing Engineering car dived into the pit for the mandatory pitstop as soon as the pit window opened on lap six and he resumed the circuit in 13th but all the cars ahead had yet to stop.
Racing resumed on lap nine and Alexander gained a place to 12th despite being hit on the rear by Lynn and with all the cars now closed up it was important to avoid any further incidents when he was so well placed. By lap twelve Alexander had passed Amberg and his next targets were Stanaway and Berthon, he quickly passed the Status car and on lap fourteen he used his DRS to pass the Frenchman. Lap fifteen and Alexander was 6th as he got ahead of Markelov and Leal was next on the track in 5th and the Racing Engineering car soon closed on the Carlin car and he was ahead at the end of lap sixteen.
By lap nineteen Alexander was in 5th and effectively 1st with a gap of six seconds to Lynn who was 2nd of the cars who had already stopped. On the next lap the Racing Engineering car was ahead of Visou and a pitstop by Matsushita saw Alexander now in 3rd and as the cars pitstopped on lap twenty three, nine to go, Alexander was in the lead. With four laps remaining Alexander was nine seconds ahead but his medium tyres were beginning to degrade heavily and Vandoorne on fresh soft tyres was closing and on lap thirty Alexander had to yield the lead to the ART car and on the final lap he had to concede second to Haryanto who was also on soft tyres and as the race ended he had to settle for a hard fought 3rd place.
Although Jordan lost a place to his teammate on lap one he soon stabilised the gap at 0.5 seconds and he began to pull away from Sirotkin in 8th. The Safety Car deployment saw Jordan take his mandatory pitstop but with the two Racing Engineering cars having to pit together he lost a couple of places resuming the track in 19th but 12 cars ahead had yet to stop. The young Briton soon passed Canamasas for 12th and he was now chasing Stockinger and on lap thirteen he was up to 17th and pursuing Amberg. Two laps later he was ahead of the Lazarus driver and he began to close on Binder who was 0.7 seconds ahead, Jordan made quick work of Binder, Stanaway and Canamasas and he was now lying 12th on lap eighteen.
Two laps later and Jordan was now right behind and closing on Negrao and as the cars ahead took their pitstops with nine laps remaining he was 4th and a lap later he took Negrao for 3rd . His next target was Evans in 2nd and on lap twenty five the Racing Engineering car passed the New Zealander for second and although the Russian Time car used DRS to re-pass Jordan he immediately retook the place and began to pull away. With five laps to go Jordan came under pressure from Vandoorne who was on soft tyres and the Racing Engineering car was now on worn medium tyres and on lap twenty seven the ART car used DRS to gain the place. Jordan lost another place to Haryanto with two laps left as the Campos Racing car also had the advantage of fresh soft tyres nevertheless, despite the disappointment of losing the two places at the end of the thirty two laps, Jordan finished in an very well deserved 4th place on his GP2 debut.
Both the Racing Engineering drove excellent races despite, due to the Safety Car period, having to take earlier pitstops than the team would have wished for which compromised their late race performance as they had to run for longer on the medium tyre than was ideal. Tomorrow’s Sprint Race will see Jordan start from 5th and Alexander 6th on the reversed grid and both men will be looking to finish on the podium.
Alfonso de Orléans-Borbón, President of Racing Engineering: “What a wonderful race, both drivers were absolutely on the pace. Pity about the safety car since it allowed Vandoorne to save his tires for some laps while we had to pit earlier than we wanted and it compromised Jordan's race even more than Alex'. Either way, they whole team did a great job today and they deserve to celebrate. But not too much since we have another tough race tomorrow.”
Jordan King: “I had a good start, but unfortunately lost a position to Alexander. During the pit stop I was stacked up behind Alexander, which was very unfortunate on my side as I re-joined the race last. But my race after that was good, I went through the traffic well, kept my tyres and caught Alex. But then Vandoorne and Haryanto on fresh tyres got ahead of me, otherwise I would have finished on the podium. Overall it’s a good weekend even though the change of strategy under the Safety Car compromised my race more than the one of Alex, but I managed the tyres well and was challenging for the podium. I am happy with the 3rd and 4th position as it’s good for the teams’ championship. I am happy with how things went, even if not 100%, but close to it.”
Alexander Rossi:: “The start was OK and we were obviously aiming to make the option tyres to last a while and therefore I didn’t push too much at the beginning. However the Safety Car left us no other choice but to pit earlier than planned and we knew it would be a long race on primes. We did the best we could to make the tyres last and not make them wear out so much. It was a difficult race after the pit stop with Lynn behind me and going through the traffic as I knew Vandoorne had free air and my strategy needed to capitalize on when he was on soft tyres, so that my gap would be big enough. Looking back it’s hard to say what could have done better and if I maybe stressed the tyres a bit too much. But if I don’t, I am not in P1. I am very pleased with this podium, which is good, and thank the team for their good job.”