Coletti keeps points lead despite Leimer’s win


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Fabio Leimer stormed to an easy pole position on Friday and converted this into a fairly comfortable win come the feature race.

He couldn’t repeat this in the sprint race however, managing only 9th as Sam Bird made a brilliant start and held off a late charge from Felipe Nasr to win by the smallest margin in GP2 history.

ART endured a poor weekend with James Calado’s penalty meaning their two cars would start 14th and 20th on the grid. After amassing no points at all in the feature race they recovered to finish fifth and seventh in the sprint race with Calado making up many places in the closing laps.

For the second weekend in a row we saw a driver forced off the track in Qualifying and as a result the culprit – Sergio Canamasas – was excluded and made to start from last.

Qualifying results

Feature Race

Ericsson stalls while Coletti challenges Leimer

Marcus Ericsson was hoping that second on the grid would result in his first points of the year but he stalled on the grid before the formation lap started and was made to start from the pit lane.

Stefano Coletti took full advantage and challenged Fabio Leimer for the lead on the opening lap. The Racing Engineering man held off his Rapax competitor however as a small slip from Coletti cost him the chance to pass Leimer. As the laps went by Leimer pulled out a lead and looked like he had the race under control.

Further back Sam Bird made a scintillating start from ninth on the grid, slicing his way through slower starting cars in front to make it up to third by turn 1.

Bird and Nasr lose ground in the pits

Alexander Rossi was the first man to pit from fifth on lap seven and Jolyon Palmer followed suite on the next lap. Sam Bird and Felipe Nasr pitted together another lap later but both suffered problems in the pits and dropped behind the two men who had pitted earlier.

As Rossi’s pace increased Leimer and Coletti pitted together and just rejoined in front of the Caterham Racing driver, putting Rossi into a provisional podium place on his GP2 debut.

The three of them proceeded to slice their way through the cars who had started on the hard tyres and resumed the top three positions once everyone had completed their pitstops.

Bird and Trummer’s tyre struggle

As the race reached its final stages Sam Bird started to drop back as his tyres began to degrade. Nasr eased past the RUSSIAN TIME driver with the Carlin man’s teammate – Jolyon Palmer – following him through a few laps later.

Further back Simon Trummer was suffering with tyres as well, falling behind Adrian Quaife-Hobbs and eventually losing eighth place – and the reverse grid pole position – to Tom Dillmann.

Fabio Leimer claimed his second feature race win in two weekends with Coletti claiming an important second place. Alexander Rossi put in a fantastic performance to score a podium in his debut race in the GP2 series.


PosDriverTeamTime/Lap RetiredGrid
1Fabio LeimerRacing Engineering57’21.5281
2Stefano ColettiRapax1.9294
3Alexander RossiCaterham Racing9.037
4Felipe NasrCarlin9.4983
5Jolyon PalmerCarlin15.03712
6Sam BirdRUSSIAN TIME28.5189
7Adrian Quaife-HobbsMP Motorsport33.0678
8Tom DillmannRUSSIAN TIME33.5895
9Simon TrummerRapax36.24611
10Johnny CecottoArden international37.45913
11Kevin CecconTrident Racing42.50216
12James CaladoART Grand Prix48.08420
13Marcus EricssonDAMS48.709PL*
14Daniel AbtART Grand Prix53.48214
15Rio HaryantoBarwa Addax Team59.14624
16Jake RosenzweigBarwa Addax Team65.99721
17Nathanel BerthonTrident Racing70.69622
18Rene BinderVenezuela GP Lazarus71.77619
19Julian LealRacing Engineering79.88617
20Sergio CanamasasCaterham Racing80.45626
21Robin FrijnsHilmer Motorsport1 Lap10
DNFKevin GiovesiVenezuela GP Lazarus2818
DNFMitch EvansArden international2615
DNFStephane RichelmiDAMS216
DNFPal VarhaugHilmer Motorsport523
DNFDaniel de JongMP Motorsport225

Fastest Lap: Julian Leal (Racing Engineering) – 1’43.889 (on lap 24)
Fastest Lap Points: Johnny Cecotto (Arden International) – 1’45.115 (on lap 28)

Sprint Race

Bird turns poor start into early lead

Front row men Tom Dillmann and Adrian Quaife-Hobbs made great starts while third placed man Sam Bird appeared to miss the start completely. Wheel spin from the drivers behind ensured Bird kept third however, despite an attempted overtake from fast-starting Stefano Coletti. The Rapax driver was blocked by Quaife-Hobbs however and this allowed Bird into second behind his teammate.

Behind them Jolyon Palmer tipped yesterday’s podium man – Alexander Rossi – into a spin, and eventually into Fabio Leimer, taking off Rossi’s front wing, while Rio Haryanto missed his breaking point and ploughed into the back of Marcus Ericsson, rounding off a terribly unlucky weekend for the DAMS driver.

Both ART drivers made good starts to jump into 7th and 9th while Sam Bird shot down the inside of teammate Tom Dillmann to take the lead before the first lap had even finished. Dillmann tried to fight back at turn 1 but this eventually cost him second to Coletti and the lap after Dillmann lost another place to Felipe Nasr while Bird started to pull away up front.

Race re-ignites as tyres drop off

The race then remained fairly stagnant until the last five laps when the tyres started to drop off. Quaife-Hobbs – running in 5th – became the cork in a bottle that would see Leimer lose two places to Palmer and Calado in two corners and the latter eventually fight through into 5th place.

The fight up front was just as intense as Coletti and Nasr began closing on Bird by a second a lap. Coletti looked to have the measure of Bird but a mistake at the final corner on the penultimate lap gifted Nasr second place. Coletti continued to lock up on his worn tyres and made a number of mistakes on the final lap, dropping four seconds back.

Nasr put pressure on Bird for the lead on the final lap but the RUSSIAN TIME driver managed to hold on to claim the first ever win for the new team by the smallest margin in GP2 history, eight hundredths of a second.


PosDriverTeamTime/Lap RetiredGrid
1Sam BirdRUSSIAN TIME41’08.1333
2Felipe NasrCarlin0.085
3Stefano ColettiRapax4.2067
4Tom DillmannRUSSIAN TIME10.3261
5James CaladoART Grand Prix19.71312
6Jolyon PalmerCarlin21.7734
7Daniel AbtART Grand Prix24.10814
8Adrian Quaife-HobbsMP Motorsport27.7222
9Fabio LeimerRacing Engineering27.8948
10Kevin CecconTrident Racing27.99711
11Sergio CanamasasCaterham Racing28.60120
12Johnny CecottoArden International35.47710
13Stephane RichelmiDAMS35.85824
14Simon TrummerRapax36.3469
15Mitch EvansArden International36.9523
16Julian LealRacing Engineering37.67119
17Kevin GiovesiVenezuela GP Lazarus41.24822
18Daniel de JongMP Motorsport44.75726
19Jake RosenzweigBarwa Addax Team47.00616
20Alexander RossiCaterham Racing52.0446
21Pal VarhaugHilmer Motorsport54.7425
22Nathanel BerthonTrident Racing55.33217
23Robin FrijnsHilmer Motorsport62.96421
24Rio HaryantoBarwa Addax Team77.38815
25Rene BinderVenezuela GP Lazarus1 Lap18
DNFMarcus EricssonDAMS613

Fastest Lap: Nathanael Berthon (Trident Racing) – 1’45.301 (on lap 17)
Fastest Lap Points: Sam Bird (RUSSIAN TIME) – 1’45.465 (on lap 4)

Drivers’ championship points

Despite not winning a race Stefano Coletti held onto his championship lead by ten points from Fabio Leimer. The Racing Engineering driver looked dominant through practice, qualifying and the feature race but another no-score in the sprint race cost him ground.

1Stefano Coletti64
2Fabio Leimer54
3Felipe Nasr48
4Sam Bird33
5James Calado24
6Jolyon Palmer22
7Alexander Rossi15
8Stephane Richelmi12
9Tom Dillmann12
10Mitch Evans11
11Julian Leal10
12Johnny Cecotto9
13Simon Trummer8
14Adrian Quaife-Hobbs7
15Conor Daly2
16Daniel Abt2
17Rene Binder1

Image © GP2/Dunbar

3 comments on “Coletti keeps points lead despite Leimer’s win”

  1. Rossi was very impressive in his first race weekend in GP2. Definitely someone to watch. Leimer had a fantastic race in the feature race. Nasr was fairly solid as usual and came extremely close to taking the win in the sprint race, but Russian Time have been very impressive in their first season in GP2 and I’m happy they took the win.

  2. Will Buxton’s commentary was absolute rubbish. Jerome d’Ambrosio had to correct him about 50,000,000 times. Jerome did okay; I feel like the language barrier is the only thing stopping him from being a good secondary commentator.

  3. Will’s usually on point and their commentary has really turned me on to watching the GP2 series last year on Sky. I thought Frijns and Richelmi were unlucky – were they headed for a good points finish and thus top 5 starting places in race 2? Along with Ericsson’s stall (what an unlucky start to the season so far) and Rossi being hit into losing his front wing at the start of race 2 – 4 drivers that lost points I’d say. Frijns was very close to almost as impressive a first GP2 weekend as Rossi, but it looks like he is a Hamilton style racer – and will have to learn how to handle managing tyre deg with the Pirelli over the race distance.

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