• GP2 Final, Abu Dhabi

Calado wins sprint race from pole

ESPNF1 Staff
November 13, 2011
James Calado took victory on only his second GP2 start © Sutton Images
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James Calado took a lights-to-flag victory in the GP2 sprint race at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.

Calado, making his first appearance in GP2 this weekend, took a highly respectable 8th place in the feature race of the one-off weekend, and took full advantage of the pole position that gave him on the reverse grid. Leading away on the first lap, he withstood pressure from Antonio Felix da Costa early on and then Marcus Ericsson late in the race to win by 1.7 seconds.

It was an impressive performance from the GP3 Series runner-up, who has already been confirmed at ART for the 2012 season. Ericsson's performance was also worthy of not as he made a strong start to climb up from fifth to third on the first lap, and then pass da Costa in to turn eight on lap nine.

After losing out to Ericsson, da Costa then had a battle with Luis Razia, which saw him cut the chicane and receive a drive-through penalty. Razia looked set for third but he too received a drive-through for ignoring yellow flags, promoting Tom Dillmann up to third in the second iSport car after his sixth place yesterday.

Jolyon Palmer followed up his first GP2 podium in the feature race with a comfortable fourth place, but a close battle behind him saw a dramatic last lap. Alexander Rossi started it in fifth place, but in the gaggle of cars behind him Fabio Leimer and Stefano Coletti came together, leaving Coletti in the barriers. That promoted Kevin Ceccon to sixth and left him battling with Rossi, but it was Esteban Gutierrez who made up four positions on the final lap to take fifth with a great driver from 21st on the grid. Ceccon got the better of Rossi to finish sixth, with Razia coming home behind them in eighth.

The final results meant Calado wins the Pirelli prize of 15,000 Euros for being the best GP3 graduate across the weekend, with Dillmann picking up 10,000 Euros for being second in those standings.