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Leimer wins GP race, Rossi 3rd (UPDATED)
Alexander Rossi got a podium with third in his GP2 debut
Polesitter Fabio Leimer continued to impress at the Bahrain International Circuit: in today’s feature race, the Swiss ace took the win from pole position thanks to a strong drive and a good strategy. Series rival Stefano Coletti finished second ahead of rookie Alexander Rossi.

Drama happened on the formation lap when Marcus Ericsson stalled on the pre-grid from P2. This meant that Coletti, in P4, had a clear track ahead of him. When the lights went out, the Monegasque driver took advantage of the situation to pass Felipe Nasr who was then second. Coletti immediately put pressure on Leimer, but the Swiss fended off Coletti’s attacks and remained ahead of the chasing pack. Further down the field, Sam Bird made a blazing start from P9 to challenge Nasr for third place into Turn 1. Behind the fighting pair, Rossi and Jolyon Palmer (from P12 on the grid) battled for fifth place.

At the front, Leimer managed to pull a comfortable gap to keep Coletti under control. Both men having started on soft tires had to try and make them last as long as possible. On lap 7, Rossi was the first man at the front to pit for hard tires. He rejoined in nineteenth. Palmer did the same a lap later and came out behind the American. Bird and Nasr chose to stop on lap 9, and lost a position to Rossi and Palmer as they fed back onto the circuit.

From Left: Coletti (2nd), Leimer (1st) and Rossi (3rd)
A lap later, Leimer and Coletti pitted together for hard tires and rejoined just ahead of Rossi. The three men proceeded to slice their way up through the field. They reached a three-way battle for fourth place between Kevin Giovesi, Rene Binder and Mitch Evans. As the trio were busy fighting, Leimer, Coletti and Rossi found a way past them. Race leader Adrian Quaife-Hobbs (who had opted to start on hard tires and thus stayed out longer) pitted for some fresh rubber on lap 20. This allowed Leimer back into the lead, the Swiss driver continuing to control his pace and the tire degradation, with Coletti and Rossi in tow.

The fight between Nasr and Bird began to heat up again in the closing stages, the Brazilian eventually passing the British driver who was later overtaken by Palmer as well. At the checkered flag, Leimer crossed the finish line 1.9s ahead of Coletti and punched the air in delight recording a second feature race win this season. In third, Rossi enjoyed a first podium finish on his GP2 debut. The Carlin duo took fourth and fifth, Nasr ahead of Palmer. Bird finished sixth ahead of Quaife-Hobbs who fought in the final laps to take seventh from Dillmann (who will start from reverse pole tomorrow). Simon Trummer and Johnny Cecotto pocketed the final points.

American Alexander Rossi finished his first main GP2 Series race in a superb third place for Caterham, and the fact he is driving for backmarker team Caterham the result was impressive.


Pos Driver Team/Car Behind
1. Fabio Leimer Racing Engineering +0.000s
2. Stefano Coletti Rapax +1.929s
3. Alexander Rossi Caterham +9.030s
4. Felipe Nasr Carlin +9.498s
5. Jolyon Palmer Carlin +15.037s
6. Sam Bird Russian Time +28.518s
7. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs MP +33.067s
8. Tom Dillmann Russian Time +33.589s
9. Simon Trummer Rapax +36.246s
10. Johnny Cecotto Arden +37.459s
11. Kevin Ceccon Trident +42.502s
12. James Calado ART +48.084s
13. Marcus Ericsson DAMS +48.709s
14. Daniel Abt ART +53.482s
15. Ryo Haryanto Addax +59.146s
16. Jake Rosenzweig Addax +1m05.997s
17. Nathanael Berthon Trident +1m10.696s
18. Rene Binder Lazarus +1m11.776s
19. Julian Leal Racing Engineering +1m19.886s
20. Sergio Canamasas Caterham +1m20.456s
21. Robin Frijns Hilmer +1 lap
DNF Kevin Giovesi Lazarus Lap 27
DNF Mitch Evans Arden Lap 25
DNF Stephane Richelmi DAMS Lap 20
DNF Paul Varhaug Hilmer Lap 4
DNF Daniel de Jong MP Lap 1

Fastest Lap : Julian Leal (Racing Engineering) – 1:43.889 on lap 24

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