- GP2, Bahrain, Race 1
Valsecchi wins again in Bahrain
Davide Valsecchi won his third race in the space of a week in Bahrain after taking victory at the feature race of this weekend's standalone GP2 round at Sakhir.
Valsecchi won by 7.7s from Fabio Leimer after they both found a way past Giedo van der Garde in the first stint. Van der Garde, who led early on after statring from pole position, held on for a comfortable third place, but was no match for the two cars ahead of him.
Valsecchi took the lead on lap eight as van der Garde's tyres started to go off and Leimer followed past a lap later before all three cars pitted for fresh tyres. From that point onwards the top three held their positions, with Leimer unable to stop Valsecchi gradually extending his lead. Nevertheless, Leimer's podium will be something of a consolation after he had a near-certain victory stripped from him by a controversial penalty last Sunday.
Outside the podium positions, Luiz Razia put together an impressive drive from sixth on the grid to fourth to cross the line just 0.5s ahead of Max Chilton. The pair were locked in a tight battle up until the flag after both finding a way past Marcus Ericsson, who made a fantastic start to move up to fourth but eventually succumbed to tyre degradation.
Rio Haryanto and Felipe Nasr also found a way past Ericsson before the end to finish in sixth and seventh, with Nasr having an impressive race after he dropped down the order following his pit stop. But crucially Ericsson held on for eighth place which will translate into pole position on the reverse grid for Saturday's sprint race. Tom Dillmann and Johnny Cecotto took the remaining points on offer by rounding out the top ten.
After looking strong last weekend, Lotus ART had a disastrous race as the team decided to forego free practice in order to save tyres for the race. The plan was based on last Sunday's car set-up still being relevant on Friday, but it backfired horrendously with Esteban Gutierrez qualifying 13th and James Calado 22nd. In the race the new tyres were of little use as Gutierrez finished outside the points in 11th and Calado, after stalling on the dummy grid, wrecked his second set of Pirellis with a flatspot and had to pit twice before crossing the line 17th.