- GP2, Bahrain Grand Prix, Race 2
Bird holds off Nasr in BahrainChris Medland April 21, 2013
Sam Bird took one of the closest GP2 victories ever as he held off Felipe Nasr by 0.08s in the sprint race in Bahrain.
Having started third, Bird took the lead from his team-mate Tom Dillmann by the end of the first lap and looked in control as he extended his lead to almost four seconds. However, Stefano Coletti and Nasr reeled him in late on and Bird was left to cling on to the line.
Coletti looked the more likely to challenge but could not force an error from Bird and then ran wide himself at the final corner at the end of the penultimate lap to allow Nasr through in to second. Coletti finished third with Dillmann a distant fourth ahead of a close battle for fifth which was headed by James Calado.
Bird initially got a poor start but Adrian Quaife-Hobbs blocked Coletti at turn one allowing Bird in to second behind his team-mate. Alexander Rossi sustained a broken front wing at turn one after being clipped, while Rio Haryanto and Marcus Ericsson also picked up damage as the former ran in to the back of the DAMS car.
Bird passed Dillmann in to the final corner but the pair scrapped through Turns 1 and 2, allowing Coletti to get the run on Dillmann to take second. The following lap, Nasr dived down the inside of Dillmann in to Turn 1 as the pole sitter dropped to fourth by the start of lap three.
A great start from the ART cars saw them both in the top eight but Jolyon Palmer passed Calado for P7 on lap four, with Calado then having to hold off his team-mate Daniel Abt. The race settled down as drivers looked to preserve their tyres, but with Bird locking up twice in to turn one it was clear the race would come to life later on.
The majority of the action came in the final seven laps, with a train forming behind Quaife-Hobbs. Palmer dived up the inside of Fabio Leimer for sixth at Turn 1 and then Calado followed him through before Turn 4. Quaife-Hobbs' tyres were completely worn and he eventually dropped back to eighth behind Calado, Palmer and Abt, leaving feature race winner Leimer outside the points.
With two laps to go, Bird's lead was erased and the top three ran line astern, but a big lock-up from Coletti cost him his chance and Bird held on for Russian Time's first GP2 victory.
Chris Medland is assistant editor at ESPNF1