• GP2, Bahrain Grand Prix, Race 1

Dominant Valsecchi wins Bahrain feature race

ESPNF1 Staff
April 21, 2012
Davide Valsecchi celebrates victory in the feature race © Sutton Images

Davide Valsecchi dominated the GP2 feature race at the Bahrain Grand Prix to take his first victory of the season while a fantastic battle emerged behind him.

Malaysia feature race winner Luiz Razia finished a distant second after an impressive drive from eighth on the grid, but had to work hard for it and gained two places thanks to the swift work of his Arden pit crew.

Esteban Gutierrez completed the podium after overtaking Max Chilton on the final lap in a thrilling battle that lasted the entire second sector and saw him hold his car together off the racing from turn 11 to turn 13. It was a respectable race by Chilton nonetheless, after he started ninth on the grid and made an early pit stop to give himself track position at the cost of his tyres towards the end of the race.

James Calado also pitted early and ran as high as second before his tyres gave up five laps from the end and he dropped to fifth. Both Chilton and Calado were helped by a safety car period midway through the race that allowed them to give their tyres a brief rest in the intense heat. The caution period was triggered when Johnny Cecotto attempted an overtaking move on Felipe Nasr at turn four but arrived at the apex without a realistic chance of passing the DAMS car.

Tom Dillmann filled Calado's mirrors towards the end of the race, but ultimately his tyres also passed their best in the final laps and he settled for sixth. Racing Engineering's Fabio Leimer dropped three places from his grid position to finish seventh ahead of Fabio Onidi, who finished eight and secured pole position for tomorrow's sprint race.

Rio Haryanto and Brendon Hartley rounded out the points-paying positions in ninth and tenth. It was Haryanto's first GP2 points while Hartley will be happy after being drafted in at the last minute to replace Jon Lancaster at Ocean Racing Technology.