• GP2, Bahrain Grand Prix, Race 2

Sublime Valsecchi secures Bahrain whitewash

ESPNF1 Staff
April 22, 2012
Davide Valsecchi celebrates his second GP2 win of the weekend © Sutton Images
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Davide Valsecchi delivered an outstanding drive to follow up his feature race win with a victory in the sprint race in Bahrain.

The championship leader measured his race to perfection to take the lead from Esteban Gutierrez on the final lap, with Gutierrez's Lotus team-mate James Calado finishing third as Fabio Leimer was hit by a late penalty to lose the lead.

The race was another enthralling one, with action throughout as drivers worked hard to make their Pirelli tyres last for the 22 laps. It came after a delayed start, too, as Felipe Nasr stalled coming round to the grid and then Tom Dillman stalled from third as the field went for a second formation lap, leading both men to start from the pit lane.

When the lights went out pole sitter Fabio Onidi had a poor start while Calado's getaway was perfect to take the lead from fourth place. Gutierrez had a strong launch too and was up to third before passing Leimer for P2 at start of the second lap.

In the early laps the two Lotus drivers had a strong battle, with Calado defending from Gutierrez in to turn one. Gutierrez sustained a bit of damage to his front wing while Calado suffered a big lock-up as both were compromised for the remainder of the race. Leimer took advantage of the battle out of turn four and passed Gutierrez, before the pair of them relegated Calado to third a few laps later.

Having bided his time, Valsecchi passed Max Chilton from a long way back in to turn one with eight laps to go, and pulled a carbon copy of the manoeuvre on Calado the following lap.

The race was then turned on its head when leader Leimer was handed a drive-through penalty with six laps to go for ignoring yellow flags earlier in the race. Replays didn't appear to show much indiscretion, but the stewards may have ruled that Leimer improved his time.

Valsecchi began to reel in Gutierrez in what was essentially the fight for the lead after Leimer's penalty, and once the leader took his punishment with four laps remaining he came out behind a large battle for eighth place. Valsecchi erased the gap at the front, timing his run perfectly and then after Gutierrez defended in to turn one at the start of the final lap Valsecchi made his was round the outside of the Lotus through turn three to take the victory.

Luiz Razia got the better of Chilton in the battle for fourth, while Nasr delivered an amazing drive to come home sixth after starting from the pit lane, with Jolyon Palmer and Simon Trummer rounding out the points.