Tom Dillmann won a breathtaking sprint race to bring this weekend's GP2 action in Bahrain to an end after beating Luiz Razia to the chequered flag by just 0.1s.
The pair were locked in a thrilling battle over the final three laps that saw Razia consider making a pass right up until the final corner while Dillmann struggled to keep his degrading Pirelli tyres pointing in the right direction. Davide Valsecchi rounded off the podium in third, bringing his run of three consecutive race wins to an end, but adding to his points tally at the top of the championship.
Dillmann started from pole position on the reversed grid after he was promoted to eighth in yesterday's feature race by a post-race penalty for Felipe Nasr. The Frenchman led from lights to flag but Razia reeled him in during the closing stages, reducing the gap from over four seconds to just 0.1s.
Razia's tyres were in much better condition as he started the final lap but a mistake through turn three, in which he clobbered a kerb and held a huge slide, scuppered his chances of making a move stick into the passing point at turn four. He remained within a metre of Dillmann's gearbox for the rest of the lap, but thought better of a do-or-die manoeuvre at the final corner.
The drama at the front allowed Valsecchi to close in on the top two and he finished the race 3.7s shy of Razia. Over the previous 23 laps he methodically picked his way through the field with assured overtaking moves on Marcus Ericsson, Nasr and finally Esteban Gutierrez.
Gutierrez had a relatively strong race after the disappointment of Friday's feature race, but his Lotus was still off the pace of the frontrunners. He made a gutsy start, in which he pitched Giedo van der Garde into a spin at turn one, and then moved his way up to third by the end of lap seven. In the end he had to settle for fourth ahead of Nasr and Rio Haryanto in fifth and sixth.
Ericsson finished seventh but it was another slightly disappointing result for the Swede. He was running as high as third after the start, but hit a polystyrene brake marker on lap four that had been punted onto the racing line by a wayward backmarker the lap before. Ericsson's contact with the polystyrene block appeared to damage his front wing and from that point onwards he fell down the order. Nevertheless, he still managed to hold on for two points in seventh ahead of Fabio Leimer who was rewarded with a single point for finishing in eighth.