James Calado took an impressive lights-to-flag victory in the sprint race at Sepang as Lotus GP secured a one-two finish.
Calado's team-mate Esteban Gutierrez was second and Felipe Nasr third in a race where the top ten ran close together until the final few laps saw tyre wear mix up the field. Gutierrez got the better start from second but Calado held on in to turn one, while Nasr came under pressure from Stefano Coletti. Coletti dived up the inside in to turn seven but ran wide and dropped back to sixth place.
On a busy opening two laps eighth-placed Davide Valsecchi locked up in to turn 14 leaving Max Chilton all over the back of him but the DAMS driver defended very rigorously. Fabrizio Crestani tried to dive up the inside as the pair battled in to turn one but lost a bit of his front wing against Valsecchi's car and was hit with a drive-through penalty for causing a collision.
Giedo van der Garde made a strong start up to fourth on the opening lap, but soon things began to settle down as drivers tried to look after their tyres. In a bizarre moment Ricardo Teixeira ran off track and was seen driving the wrong way down an access road against the flow of traffic before the final corner in order to rejoin.
Very dark clouds gathered with ten laps left, but it was tyre wear which started to spice up the racing. Valsecchi was lucky to escape a spectacular crash with nine laps to go as he ran wide trying to pass Luiz Razia in to turn four. As Valsecchi rejoined the track Marcus Ericsson tried to dive up the inside in to the high-speed turn five but didn't get far enough alongside and Valsecchi's car was tipped in to a high speed roll, sliding upside-down in to the gravel before the car righted itself.
At the front Nasr closed in on Gutierrez as Calado edged away, but all of the top three had driven controlled races and remained comfortable. Further back Chilton tried to take advantage of a battle between Coletti and Razia, diving up the inside of Razia in to turn four but running wide as Valsecchi had done and losing a spot to Nathaniel Berthon.
It was merely a stay of execution for Coletti who was really struggling with his tyres late in the race. He ran wide at the final corner allowing Razia to duck underneath. Then Berthon attacked in to turn one and as Coletti defended Chilton found his way past the Racing Engineering car through turn three.
The following lap saw some great racing through the first sector as Chilton sold Coletti a dummy in to turn one and seemed to pass on the inside. However, Coletti hung it around the outside in turn two to hold on and they went three abreast in to turn four as Berthon tried to find a way through. Chilton was on the outside and braked earliest, ducking inside to pass both on the exit.
While the top four eased home, Razia passed Leimer for fifth on the penultimate lap using the outside line to outbrake Leimer in to the final corner. Despite a slow final lap Leimer was able to hold on to sixth from Chilton, with Berthon picking up the final point in eighth.