That was an amazing GP2 race, beginning in extraordinary fashion with Sam Bird stalling off the line. Davide Valsecchi took the lead with Alvaro Parente behind him. There were incredibly no crashes or safety cars for the first laps. Some of the drivers began pitting around lap 8, while Valsecchi – who had been challenged by Parente at the start – waited until the second-place driver pitted. By then Parente had fallen back some distance. After the first round of pit stops, drivers began dropping like flies.
Romain Grosjean and Luca Filippi both waited to pit, and the Frenchman managed to get up to P2. After his pit stop he had enough of a lead to be able to finish P4 with Filippi in front on the podium. Valsecchi managed to stay in the lead despite a safety car caused by a collision between the two iSport drivers, who ended up retiring, and brought home AirAsia’s first victory! He now stands P3 in the championship.
Sam Bird leads the championship on 23 points, with Giedo van der Garde – who retired from the race – still on 21. Carlin got their first points with Turvey and Chilton finishing P7 and P8, which gives them the front row in the sprint tomorrow. DAMS’ Jules Bianchi retired and also failed to score points. The driver had been expected to challenge for the championship, but he is only P11 currectly.
Local boy Stefano Coletti finished fifth, and Josef Kral brought Arden in a few more points with a sixth-place finish. It was a race of very high attrition, with only fourteen drivers finishing. Fifteenth-placed Fairuz Fauzy was classified after crashing on the first lap. Jolyon Palmer, Arden’s other driver, retired for a while, and ended up circulating too far back to get into the points so was not classified.
In the lap before last, Davide Valsecchi managed to also obtain the fastest lap, taking it from Luca Filippi. It was an excellent drive around the tricky course.
The sprint race is tomorrow, with P1-P8 reversed. There should be no pit stops, so it will be harder for retired drivers to get up in the points. But if the race is anything like today’s, it will be a Monaco crash-fest classic.