Romain Grosjean took his first victory of the GP2 Asia Series with a comfortable lights to flag win in San Marino.
Having taken pole position from Sam Bird, Grosjean got away well at the start while Bird slipped back to eighth. Giedo van der Garde made a strong start from 5th to be 2nd by turn one, but was unable to challenge Grosjean for the lead. Further back, Bird's slow start had bunched the pack up even more, and Luis Razia was squeezed out on to the grass before spinning in to the tyre wall.
As Grosjean pulled away from van der Garde at the front, things were tighter further back as Bird tried to make up for his poor start, but after contact with his team-mate Marcus Ericsson on lap 7 he was forced to retire. Jules Bianchi dropped to fifth on the line and was clipped from behind early on by Jolyon Palmer, damaging Palmer's front wing. But Bianchi showed good pace and moved up to fourth as Josef Kral suffered a puncture, before getting past Michael Herck for third. Despite a late push, he was unable to close the gap on second placed van der Garde.
The bumpy track forced a few errors from a number of drivers, with Davide Valsecchi running wide at turn 10 and losing fifth place to Stefano Coletti who had driven through the field from his 16th place starting position. Behind them Fabio Leimer finished seventh ahead of Dani Clos who had impressively moved up from 20th on the grid to take eighth. It later emerged that Valsecchi's car was too low and he was disqualified, promoting Leimer and Clos with Fairuz Fauzy classified eighth and on pole for the sprint race.
Grosjean kept well clear of the rest of the field at the front though, and the Renault reserve driver eventually took the chequered flag over 14 seconds ahead of van der Garde. The result leaves Grosjean with a five point lead in the championship ahead of tomorrow's sprint race, in which he will only need to finish fourth to take the title.
Provisional top eight finishers
|2.||Gierdo van der Garde||Barwa Addax|
|7.||Dani Clos||Racing Engineering|
|8.||Fairuz Fauzy||Super Nova|