• GP2, Singapore Grand Prix, Race 1

Chilton wins in Singapore as Valsecchi takes title

ESPN Staff
September 22, 2012
Max Chilton won his second race of the season in Singapore © Sutton Images

Max Chilton won the GP2 feature race at Singapore while Davide Valsecchi finished fourth to take the 2012 championship.

Chilton took the lead at the start of the race and managed his tyres perfectly as several drivers struggled with degradation behind him. Esteban Gutierrez was a constant threat behind but never had the pace to make a serious challenge for position while Fabio Leimer completed the three podium places with a solid race to third.

The two championship challengers Valsecchi and Luiz Razia finished line astern in fourth and fifth, with the DAMS driver knowing he simply had to keep the Arden behind him to be crowned champion. There were a couple of moments when the circuit's walls loomed large as he looked to pass Joylon Palmer and Luca Filippi, but in the end it was a fairly straightforward race to the title after arriving in Singapore with a 25 point lead.

The race was topped and tailed by safety car periods when a first lap incident resulted in Rene Binder's car becoming marooned in the middle of the circuit. A second safety car could have been summoned on lap six when Simon Trummer went off at turn 18, but instead the marshals cleared the car under yellow flags. It did, however, trigger the first pit stops a little earlier than the teams probably would have planned and as a result several drivers suffered severe degradation towards the end of the race.

Race leaders Chilton and Gutierrez held out to lap nine for their first pit stop and in doing so put themselves in a better position to preserve their tyres. A final safety car came out at the end of the race when Luca Filippi, who had dropped from pole to third before making a second pit stop, dislodged his front wing at turn 18 and then lost control as the wing folded under his front tyres in the final corner. He was lucky to walk away unharmed and the accident brought about a bizarre end to the race as the safety car picked up the leaders for just one lap before diving into the pits at the final corner.

Chilton crossed the line to take his second race win of the season, but Valsecchi was the man of the moment, taking the championship in his fifth year in the series.