The weather for today’s 30 lap Feature Race was very similar to yesterdays’ qualifying with track and air temperatures of 43° and 31° respectively. Fabio Leimer lined up on the front row of the grid after his excellent second fastest time on Friday whilst Julián Leal was promoted to 13th on the grid following a post-qualifying penalty given to Clos. Fabio was starting the race of the softer Pirellis while Julián had the harder compound.
Lap 17 saw Fabio lying 8th with only cars yet to take their pitstop ahead of him and on the following lap he set another fastest time at 1:33.774s. Fabio effectively took the lead of the race on lap 20 when leader Bird had a slow pitstop leaving the Racing Engineering car 4.1 seconds ahead of the Briton.
The battle between Fabio and Bird was now very tense over the last 7 laps with Bird on the faster softer tyres and just 2.7 seconds behind the Racing Engineering car. Two laps later the gap was down to 1.4 seconds and with three laps remaining the Russian Time car was just three lengths behind Fabio but with both men fighting for the Championship and Nasr and Coletti having retired it was important to both drivers that they didn’t make any mistakes.
As the two cars started their final lap they were just 1.0 second apart but Fabio made no mistakes to win the race by just 0.8 seconds and take the lead in the 2013 GP2 Drivers Championship.
Julián had a good start from the 6th row of the grid to be 10th at the end of the opening lap with Richelmi just ahead and Quaife-Hobbs right behind. On lap 2 the young Colombian lost a place to Nasr but he quickly settled down to a good pace and he sat right on the gearbox of the Carlin car. By lap 13, as the cars ahead took their pitstops, he was lying 4th 3.7 seconds behind Richelmi and 3.5 seconds ahead of Calado. The Racing Engineering car made its pitstop from 3rd place on lap 21 returning to the track in 5th place.
With 6 laps to go Julián was 6.5 seconds behind Richelmi and 2.8 seconds in front of Calado and he was setting some of the fastest times laps and he crossed the line in an excellent 5th place after starting 13th.
Tomorrow’s 21 lap Sprint Race will see Fabio starting eighth on the reversed grid and he will be looking for more points to increase his lead while Julián will start fourth and he will want to finish on the podium again as he did at Spa.