- GP2, European Grand Prix, Race 2
Razia wins thriller in Valencia
Luiz Razia won the GP2 sprint race in Valencia after a nail-biting finish that saw him take the lead for the first time seven corners from the chequered flag.
James Calado missed out on victory for the second time in as many days after leading the race from the start to turn 17 of the final lap when he dropped to second. Fabio Leimer was also a contender for victory but couldn't make a move stick for the lead and had to settle for third.
The race got off to a scrappy start with two safety car periods in as many laps of racing. The first was triggered when Marcus Ericsson got a great start and attempted to pass Nathanael Berthon around the outside, only to be edged into the barrier on the exit of turn two. In a comical turn of events, Esteban Gutierrez, Stefano Coletti and Davide Valsecchi all joined the accident in the style of fairground dodgems, making a safety car period inevitable. With the help of the marshals, Valsecchi was the only car to get running again and caught the back of the pack as it was slowed by the safety car.
In typical GP2 fashion, the race restart triggered another accident as Johnny Cecotto crossed paths with Joylon Palmer coming out of the final corner and both cars came to a juddering halt in the middle of the grid. The safety car was deployed again to allow the marshals to deal with the wreckages before the race started properly.
Razia was eighth at the restart and started making progress through the field as Fabio Onidi lost his front wing against Nathanael Berthon. He then pulled a daring move around the outside of Berthon into turn 12 to put him up to sixth, where he remained until the closing stages.
Meanwhile, Rio Haryanto was keeping a watching brief on Calado's gearbox at the front before attempting his first move for the lead into the final corner on lap 13. He got alongside the Lotus as they entered the fast turn one, but Calado left his braking late into turn two and held onto the position.
Nevertheless, it was clear that Haryanto's tyres were in better shape and four laps from the end he launched his car up the inside of Calado into turn 12. But the move was optimistic to say the least and he lost control of his Carlin mid-corner, sliding sideways into Calado and dislodging his own front wing. Leimer showed more composure in attempting the same move behind and slipped into second place ahead of Max Chilton, who was also struggling with his tyres.
Razia started to make progress a lap later by taking advantage of a mistake by Geido van der Garde into turn two on lap 21 before finding a way past Chilton to move up to third. The race for the lead was now on between Calado and Leimer, with the Racing Engineering car enjoying much better traction but Calado somehow able to brake later into the obvious passing point at turn 12.
On the final lap Leimer attempted to outbrake Calado into turn 12 but locked up and skipped the corner, meaning he had to give the position back. Razia had closed on the lead by this point and saw his chance for victory as Leimer allowed Calado to pass on the straight before turn 17. Razia kept his head into turn 17 while the other two rejoined battle and he managed to pass both cars while Calado - his tyres on the limit and his car possibly damaged from the contact with Haryanto - squirmed at the wheel to keep Leimer behind him.
Razia then had a clear road to victory in the final sector of the final lap and crossed the line 1.1s ahead of Calado and Leimer, who were separated by just 0.4s. Chilton finished fourth ahead of Berthon, van der Garde, Simon Trummer and Julian Leal in eighth. Razia's victory - his second of the season - sees him close to just one point of Davide Valsecchi in the drivers' standings.