• GP2, Belgian Grand Prix, Race 2

Calado wins tight Belgian sprint

ESPN Staff
August 25, 2013
James Calado won from lights to flag in the Spa sprint race © Sutton Images
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James Calado won a closely-fought sprint race from pole position at Spa-Francorchamps, holding off Julian Leal by 0.4s and Adrian Quaife-Hobbs by 1.5s.

Calado led into the first corner but never managed to shake off Leal, who quickly passed Stephane Richelmi on the first lap to chase the ART. Quaife-Hobbs made a brilliant start from 10th on the grid and by lap two had also passed Richelmi, who went on to finish fourth ahead of Fabio Leimer. The Hilmer driver put on an impressive push in the final few laps to latch onto the battle for the lead but didn't quite have enough life left in his tyres to challenge Leal for second.

Further down the order there was plenty of contact and overtaking as Dani Clos tagged both Jolyon Palmer and Johnny Cecotto to move up to sixth place before being called in for a drive-through penalty. Palmer eventually took sixth after a strong drive from 15th on the grid, with Cecotto, who had been involved in several scraps throughout the race, in seventh.

Tom Dillmann took the final point in eighth, but controversially skipped the final chicane on the final lap as he came under pressure from Felipe Nasr. Nasr attempted a move around the outside forcing Dillmann, who was struggling with his tyres, to lock up and run wide on entry. He undoubtedly gained an advantage by skipping the second part of the chicane and may be investigated by the stewards after the race.

Saturday's race winner Sam Bird never got into the race and finished 14th after struggling towards the end of the race. However, he will have taken some solace in championship leader Stefano Coletti dropping out of the points in the final eight laps and plummeting down the order to eventually finish 23rd. Coletti has now failed to score at the last five rounds and his championship lead remains at five points over Nasr, while Leimer and Bird have both closed to within striking distance this weekend.