Sam Bird kept the pressure on Series leader Fabio Leimer scoring another win through a display of mature driving to take a lights to flag victory in today’s sprint race at the Marina Bay circuit. The Briton headed Marcus Ericsson and Leimer.
At the start, Bird was able to control the rest of the pack from pole position, Ericsson in tow. Behind the pair, Leimer leapfrogged a slow-starting Tom Dillmann to move up to third with Stephane Richelmi also passing the Frenchman. Further down the field, there was a bit of chaos at Turn 8 when Stefano Coletti braked too late and punted Mitch Evans with Simon Trummer, Alexander Rossi and Dani Clos as collateral damage. All cars could resume their race, but the Monegasque driver received a drive through penalty.
At the front, Bird managed a small breather to Ericsson, both men saving their tires and so were Leimer and Richelmi. Behind them, yesterday’s race winner Jolyon Palmer was fighting to keep his position, but the Brit soon started to struggle on his super soft tires and had to let Jon Lancaster, Johnny Cecotto and Daniel Abt through. The German was running in seventh position but was handed a drive through penalty when it was shown that he had failed to slow down under yellow flag. Unfortunately for the German, he did not observe his penalty within the allocated window and was black flagged. Palmer was then busy defending from a charging pack made up of Daniel De Jong, Rene Binder and Vittorio Ghirelli. The Brit eventually returned to the pits for another set of tires.
Ericsson looked like he was on a mission to try and catch Bird, the gap splitting the pair going down from 2.4s to 1.3s, but the RUSSIAN TIME driver picked up the pace again and made sure that the Swede was too far to be a real threat and drove safely to the checkered flag enjoying a fifth win this season and closing the deficit on Leimer in the standings. The Swiss had a quiet race to third ahead of Richelmi, Lancaster, Cecotto, and De Jong. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs charged to eighth and the final point of the race overtaking Binder in the final stages.
On the slowing down lap, Leimer slammed into Alexander Rossi's Caterham car. Rossi was making the sharp-left turn off the track to enter the support-race paddock, as Leimer was cruising to complete the lap to the podium. Leimer appeared to have injured his left wrist slightly.
Leimer still holds on to the lead of the standings with 179 points to 172 points for Bird, while Nasr’s challenging race brought him no points and left him on 148, ahead of Coletti on 135 and Calado on 134 points. RUSSIAN TIME extend their lead in the teams’ standings over Carlin by 264 points to 247, ahead of Racing Engineering on 241 and DAMS on 205. The final round of the season will take place in Abu Dhabi in the first week of November.
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