Leimer dominates sprint race
Swiss driver on top from pole
Fabio Leimer has stormed to victory in today's sprint race in Barcelona in a lights to flag display which saw him easily control the pace throughout the event: the Swiss driver was never headed from pole position to finish ahead of Luiz Razia and Pastor Maldonado.
The race was delayed after Sergio Perez suffered a terminal engine problem on the warm up lap so that the marshals could clean up the oil left behind, but Leimer was unfazed by the delay: when the lights went out he got away cleanly and was never challenged into the first corner.
Behind the Swiss driver there was a fierce battle between the Rapax teammates all the way to turn one, which kept the rest of the field behind them until Razia made his inside line count to claim second, with Oliver Turvey slotting in between the pair and Dani Clos, yesterday's victor Charles Pic, and a fast charging Sam Bird, who was determined to get something for his weekend's toils.
The Briton didn't take long to get into the points: on the second lap he lined up his French rival Pic and dispatched him with ease at the final chicane for sixth place, but with his countryman looking slow ahead of him there was clearly a lot more to play for. Bird pushed Clos for lap after lap at turn five, his favourite hunting ground from yesterday, and it was on lap 10 when the pressure paid off as Clos ran slightly wide and Bird was through, before easily dispatching Turvey one lap later.
But by that time the gap to the top three was untouchable: Leimer rolled out fastest lap after fastest lap before easing up in the closing stages of the race to claim a simple victory, with Razia allowed to close up a little in the last 2 laps and Maldonado following his teammate across the line. Bird pushed hard but the gap was too much, and a trip through the gravel warned the Briton to be happy with the points for fourth, while Turvey soaked up race long pressure to hang on for firth place, just ahead of Clos, Pic and Giacomo Ricci.
Leimer's win catapulted him up to second in the standings, which are still led by Pic on 10 points: the point for fastest lap put Leimer equal with Ricci on 8 points, one ahead of Razia, Clos and Maldonado as the championship heads to Monaco in just a few days time.