• GP2, Singapore Grand Prix, Race 2

Bird helps title hopes with sprint race victory

ESPN Staff
September 22, 2013
Sam Bird leads Marcus Ericsson early in the race © Sutton Images

Sam Bird gave his title hopes a healthy boost with victory in the GP2 sprint race at the Singapore Grand Prix, his fifth victory of the season.

Bird managed to salvage eighth place in Saturday's feature race, giving him pole position on the grid for Sunday's sprint and he made great use of it with a perfect start. Marcus Ericsson held second place behind him but never looked like challenging the Russian Time car, as Bird managed his single set of soft tyres to perfection over the 20 lap race.

Championship leader Fabio Leimer continued to rack up the points with third place after jumping the slow-starting Tom Dillmann at the start. He now has a total of 179 points, with Bird on 177. Felipe Nasr missed out on crucial points in Saturday's feature race when team-mate Jolyon Palmer beat him to victory, and in the sprint race both Carlin cars failed to score after using their soft tyre allocation in the feature race. Nasr is now 31 points behind Leimer and an outsider in the title race.

Stephane Richelmi took fourth place in Sunday's race ahead of Jon Lancaster, Jonny Cecotto, Daniel de Jong and Adrian Quaife-Hobbs in the final points-paying position. There was a bizarre moment at the end of the race when Leimer collided with Alexander Rossi on the slow down lap. Rossi, who had been lapped, was heading for the entrance to the GP2 paddock after Turn 5 while Leimer was completing a celebratory lap on his way to the podium. As Rossi dived for the paddock entrance, Leimer T-boned the Caterham leaving both cars with significant damage and Leimer with a hurt hand.

There is over a month until the final round of the season in Abu Dhabi, meaning Leimer should have plenty of time to recover from what looked like only a minor injury. However, with just seven points between him and Bird in the championship he will have plenty to occupy his mind.