Maldonado sails to victory in Valencia Pastor Maldonado overcame a strong start by pole sitter Sergio Perez and a surprise challenge at the restart to easily dominate the rest of the field and take his second victory of the year in today's feature race in Valencia, ahead of ART pair Jules Bianchi and Sam Bird. The Venezuelan was unable to match the storming start from his Mexican rival when the lights went out and slotted in behind for second place, and when two accidents on the opening lap removed nine drivers further down the grid a safety car period was inevitable.
There was further back news for Maldonado when he was jumped at the restart by Bianchi and Davide Valsecchi, pushing him back down to fourth as the field got back up to speed. The fightback came almost immediately. With Perez's car seemingly down on power after a tap on the exhaust by Maldonado at the first turn of the race, Bianchi was easily through and into the lead a few corners into the restart. Valsecchi tried to go with the Frenchman but caught Perez's rear wheel, tapping him into a spin and delaying the Italian long enough to give Maldonado an simple run through the pair.
Maldonado spent the next five laps all over Bianchi's rear wing until the pressure told: he ran wide at the final turn and the Venezuelan was into a lead that he would not give up for the remainder of the race, running a string of fastest laps to give himself a big enough buffer before his stop to re- emerge in first. Charles Pic and Dani Clos then had a little pitlane duel, won by the Spaniard as his team got him out ahead of his rival, but Sam Bird's stop a lap later was even faster, jumping the pair as they came back around again.
And with the pitstops resolved, so went the race: Maldonado finished 8 seconds to the good on Bianchi, who had an equal gap over his teammate when the checkered flag dropped. Giedo van der Garde did his best to bring home another podium for his team but missed by less than a second, with Clos a lonely fifth position ahead of the race long battle between Charles Pic, Marcus Ericsson and Michael Herck for the final 3 points positions. Maldonado's fine win stretches his lead in the championship to eleven points over Clos, 38 to 27, with van der Garde moving up to third on 22 points: Razia is two points back in fourth, with Perez and Bianchi tied behind him on 19 points.
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