In both GP2 and GP3, drivers were given 10-place grid penalties at the sprint race for causing collisions. This worst affected GP2 driver Pal Varhaug, demoted from 13th to 23rd. Jules Bianchi, Luca Filippi and Fabio Leimer were also given penalties in GP2, but this doesn’t really affect their starting position as the were already retired at the back of the grid. For GP3, Pedro Nunes and Maxim Zimin also start from the back of the grid. In a race of high attrition, they had both retired. This affects Nunes more as he goes from 23rd to 30th. Zimin only loses a single position to start 29th.
So the GP3 race began with Lotus ART’s James Calado on reversed pole with teammate Valtteri Bottas alongside him. Fellow Brits Alexander Sims and Dean Smith took up the second row, with Gabby Chaves alongside Mitch Evans on the third row. There was another all-British fourth row with Lewis Williamson and Adrian Quaife-Hobbs. This gave a brilliant chance of a British driver finishing on the podium or even winning the race.
And so it was. Calado dominated, while Sims managed to get into second. Williams reserve Bottas finished third to get his first GP3 podium. Some skillful overtaking saw Mitch Evans cement his championship lead by finishing fourth, and Gabby Chaves took fifth. A wild scrap at the end saw Daly barely lose out on sixth against Williamson. Dean Smith was running well but recieved a drive-through penalty to finish 11th. There were plenty of crashes, but British-Indian-Italian driver Luciano Bacheta avoided them and did some good overtaking for his best GP3 finish so far in 10th.
The GP2 reversed grid saw Josef Kral on pole with ART man Esteban Gutierrez second. Luiz Razia and title contender Sam Bird shared row two, then Dani Clos and Davide Valsecchi on row three. Romain Grosjean and Giedo van der Garde took the final row. Grosjean didn’t make it past the first lap, however, getting involved with Gonzalez and unlucky Charles Pic. Jules Bianchi had a great push from the back and finished seventh overtaking Mirocha right at the end of the final lap.
Gutierrez managed to get into the lead right away with Razia second. The Mexican pulled several seconds in the lead to take his first GP2 win and Lotus ART’s second of the day after their GP3 victory! AirAsia got their second podium. Third was Giedo van der Garde, taking his second podium of the weekend but failing to make an impression on Razia. Davide Valsecchi managed some great moves to finish fourth ahead of Dani Clos and Michael Herck.
This moves Caterham Team AirAsia up to 2nd in the championship, though Addax still lead by a decent margin. Romain Grosjean only leads by a single point from Giedo van der Garde, with Davide Valsecchi three points behind the Dutchman.