Matthieu Vaxiviere claimed his fifth pole position of the season in breaking the record of Jules Bianchi with a lap time of 1:39.828, more than a half-second quicker than Oliver Rowland, Nicholas Latifi (Arden Motorsport), Pietro Fantin and Tio Ellinas (Strakka Racing).
Vaxiviere controls at the start
When the lights went out, Matthieu Vaxiviere held on to the lead ahead of Oliver Rowland. Fending of the attacks coming from Pietro Fantin, the British driver was able to find some daylight from the Brazilian who was in a battle with Dean Stoneman and Nicholas Latifi at the end of the opening lap, on which Tio Ellinas and Tom Dillmann (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin) retired prematurely. On lap four, a mechanical problem ended the race of Jazeman Jaafar (Fortec Motorsports). Nyck de Vries (DAMS) and Bruno Bonifacio (International Draco Racing) came together two laps later.
Rowland takes command
The mandatory tyre changes brought a change to the order. Matthieu Vaxiviere stopped on lap seven, while Oliver Rowland was the last to make his stop on lap 10. The Englishman came back out ahead of the Frenchman, who poured on the pressure just until the safety car was called into service for the removal of Tom Dillmann’s car from the circuit. Oliver Rowland maintained his advantage, but the Lotus F1 Team Junior protégé closed right up and began to menace the race leader.
Oliver Rowland managed to pull away in the final laps to take the win ahead of his championship rival. Pietro Fantin fended off Dean Stoneman to score his first podium result since Moscow 2014. Nicholas Latifi was fifth, followed by Egor Orudzhev (Arden Motorsport), who passed Nick Yelloly (Lotus) and Gustav Malja (Strakka Racing), who made up several positions in the pits.
Oliver Rowland : ”I have won every track this year, except Monaco and I also wanted to do it at home, even though I didn’t think I had much of a chance to do it at the start of the weekend. I had to battle early on because Pietro was right behind me where I couldn’t see him. I attacked as much as possible and used the DRS to pull away and try to overtake Matthieu in the pits. The safety car didn’t make thing easy for me, but it is an excellent point scenario even though I am still not thinking about the title.”
Matthieu Vaxiviere : “This morning, we found a good set up to do an incredible job in qualifying with a perfect car. It was just as good in the race, but we lost time in the pits. Unfortunately, it happens sometimes and I congratulate Oliver for his perfect job today.”
Pietro Fantin : “We have been up there since the start of the season, but we had problems that prevented us from showing our potential. We’re now almost there even if I was quite lucky with the penalty that was imposed to a competitor this morning. I took advantage of it, but it is difficult to overtake here. This podium is a good reward for the efforts made by the team.”
Provisional general classification * : 1. O. Rowland – 209 points, 2. M. Vaxiviere – 173, 3. D. Stoneman – 98, 3. J. Jaafar – 91, 5. N. de Vries – 83… *Subject to confirmation of the results following the technical and sporting verifications