DAMS Alex Lynn powered to victory with a strong drive in this morning’s sprint race in Barcelona, claiming his first win with a mixture of aggression and maturity to claim the lead in the opening laps and then staying there despite the best efforts of Series leader Stoffel Vandoorne and Pierre Gasly.
There was drama before the start with Mitch Evans stopping on track on his outlap and Arthur Pic stopping before his grid position on the installation lap, causing the grid to have to form up once again and Nobuharu Matsushita to stall behind the Frenchman, forcing him into the pits to be restarted and handing Pic a five second time penalty for his efforts.
None of which affected Lynn: the Englishman had a great start from P4 to slice inside Ferrari academy driver Raffaele Marciello and teammate Gasly to put himself on the tail of poleman Norman Nato, while McLaren tester Vandoorne sliced inside Red Bull junior Gasly and behind the Italian.
There was a brief virtual safety car period for an incident between Rene Binder and André Negrao: at the restart Marciello was caught out and spun, but the rest of the field resumed with gusto. The pace was furious, and on lap six the inevitable happened when Lynn brushed past Nato into a lead he was never to relinquish: the rookie Frenchman was clearly struggling, and over the next few laps lost time (and positions) to his rivals. Vandoorne was pushing hard to get back on terms with Lynn, but the Briton was equal to the task and held the gap throughout.
Towards the end of the race the Belgian had to give up, his tyres clearly past their best: Lynn crossed the line over 2 seconds to the good from Vandoorne, with DAMS teammate Gasly another 6 seconds behind to round out the podium. Alexander Rossi used his experience to claim fourth from Artem Markelov, who drove a strong race to get by Rio Haryanto late in the race. Pic finished in P7 on the track but drops behind Nato in the classification because of his penalty.
Vandoorne leaves the circuit with a much increased lead at the end of the second round of the series, leading Haryanto by 86 points to 49, with Rossi closing up to 46 points ahead of Evans on 28 and Lynn on 25, while in the teams’ championship ART have also pulled away with 93 points to Racing Engineering’s 58, with Campos on 52 and DAMS on 41 ahead of the next round in Monaco.