• GP2, Spanish Grand Prix, Race 2

Leimer eases to sprint race win

ESPNF1 Staff
May 22, 2011
Fabio Leimer leads into the first corner as Jules Bianchi smashes against the barrier © Sutton Images
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Fabio Leimer took a comfortable lights-to-flag victory in the sprint race in Barcelona. Dani Clos was a distant second ahead of iSport's Marcus Ericsson as championship leader Giedo van der Garde crashed out before turn one.

Leimer got away cleanly at the start while Charles Pic made a good start from eighth, and his Addax team-mate van der Garde made an even better one from seventh. Jules Bianchi got too much wheelspin and as the fast starting van der Garde tried to pass on the outside Bianchi moved across and made contact once before drifting left again and the pair ended up in the wall.

That incident again saw the first few laps take place behind the safety car as Bianchi required treatment, and once racing resumed the top six broke clear immediately as Pic was shown a black and orange flag and had to pit to replace his front wing.

Leimer made a good restart and pulled out a second lead on the first lap, while Ericsson hassled Clos for 2nd and Coletti was straight on to the back of Valsecchi in fifth. The pair were soon dropped by the top four, who were spreading out slightly. While plenty of drivers were running close throughout the field, drivers were reluctant to make a big move as they had to make tyres last for 26 laps.

Josef Kral was seventh leading a train including Faruz Fauzy, Johnny Cecotto, Alvaro Parente and Paul Verhaug, but they were over six seconds away from the points with 10 laps to go. Behind them, Michael Herck suffered another difficult race as he was tapped in to a spin by Esteban Gutierrez in to turn 10 and stalled. Gutierrez had been handed a 10 place grid penalty for taking Herck out in the feature race.

Leimer crosses the line to complete his win © Sutton Images

As the race wore on, so did the Pirelli tyres and overtaking moves started to become more common. Max Chilton tried to put a pass on Rodolpho Gonzalez on the outside of turn one but ran wide and lost a place to Julian Leal. Romain Grosjean had been making slow progress from 26th having been penalised after the feature race, and was seen sporting some light damage to he nose of his car as he ran in 19th place, before a couple of moves on Gutierrez and Luis Razia in to turn one kick-started his race. He continued to come on strong and made a good move on Kevin Mirocha in to turn ten.

Grosjean's party piece came with five laps to go, passing Chilton round the outside of turn four, and doing the same to Gonzalez later in the same corner, before outbraking Cecotto in to turn five to take 11th.

Having dropped Coletti, Valsecchi moved on to the back of Bird and managed to get past with better traction on the exit of turn five. Coletti's tyres had gone following his earlier unsuccessful attempts to pass the Team AirAsia man, and he dropped back to seventh-placed Kral, who tried to make his move around the outside of turn one on the penultimate lap but turned in on Coletti and the pair slid off the track and out of the race.

Fauzy was the lucky man to inherit sixth place and the final point, while behind Parente the DAMS pair of Verhaug and Grosjean came together on the last lap but maintained position to finish eighth and ninth respectively.

The final result leaves van der Garde and Bird level on 21 points at the top of the championship, six clear of Pic in third.