The home grand prix for Malaysia’s GP2 and GP3 series heroes has provided little cheer for local fans as both Nabil Jeffri and Akash Neil Nandy concluded their second race yesterday at Sepang International Circuit (SIC) with minimal impact at the 2016 Formula 1 PETRONAS Malaysian Grand Prix.
While Akash, who featured in yesterday’s first programme of the day, finished 18th in Race 2 for the GP3 Series, Nabil was forced to retire after 18 laps in an action-packed Race 2 for the GP2 Series. Nabil remains on two championship points with one more round to go this season. Akash, on the other hand, is still seeking his first championship points in the GP3.
Akash, who was in action for only two laps on Saturday before retiring with mechanical problems in Race 1, faced a huge task in challenging his stronger rivals when he started from 19th place on the grid. Despite trying his best, the 19-year old Jenzer Motorsport driver had to be content with 18th place among 20 finishers.
Race 2 of the GP3 was won by Britain’s Jake Dennis of Arden International in 26 minutes 21.781 seconds with Japan’s Nirei Fukuzumi taking second place and Jake’s teammate Jack Aitken completing the podium trio.
Charles Leclerc of ART Grand Prix finished fifth in Race 2, but was able to cement his position at the top of the championship standings.After eight rounds, the driver from Monte Carlo has amassed a total haul of 202 points, and holds a 29-point advantage over his Thai teammate, Alexander Albon, who has 173 points. Italian Antonio Fuoco of Trident, who did not finish Race 2, is third overall with 157 points, and is effectively out of the championship battle.
Like the GP3 Series, the GP2 Series will have its final two races at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit inthe United Arab Emirates, scheduled from 25 to 27 November 2016.
Meanwhile, the battle for the GP2 Series overall crown is a lot closer, with Italian Antonio Giovinazzi of PREMA Racing, who won Saturday’s Race 1, holding a seven-point advantage over his teammate Pierre Gasly at the top of the championship standings.
While Giovinazzi, who finished fourth in Race 2, has 197 points, Gasly, who took third place on Sunday, has 190 points. Raffaele Marciello of Russian Time is third overall with 158 points, and is out of the championship battle.
Race 2 of the GP2, which ran for 22 laps under clear skies and scorching heat on Sunday, was won by Italian Luca Ghiotto, with his compatriot Marciello taking second place. Representing Trident, Ghiotto is now seventh overall with 111 points.