David Schilke, International Editor
Teammates James Calado and Esteban Gutiérrez had a lights to finish battle over first place in the final GP2 Series race at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia. The Lotus GP drivers started on the front row and finished one and two on the podium as Calado was able to hold off pressure from Gutiérrez for the duration of the sprint race. The pair were joined on the podium by DAMS rookie Felipe Nasr.
"I’m driving really slow to save the tyres but it worked," said Calado. "It’s the only thing you can do to be able to finish in the end. But the car was great today and I could not complain with the balance, It was lovely. It’s always nice to have a good car. It gives you some confidence boost. I’m over the moon happy."
Gutiérrez knew he had only one chance to fight for the lead before tire degradation would force him to back off, "In the end today, we knew that the most delicate thing was going to be the tyres especially with a hot track. It was 52 degrees compared to 42 yesterday... My shot was at the start. I tried to be in front at the first corner. I was close to do it but in the end James did a good start and mine was not good enough to be in front and after that I tried to manage my tyres and finish the race. He did a great job and I congratulate. It’s a good result for the team."
Giedo van der Garde took fourth for Caterham Racing. Saturday's featured winner, Luiz Razia, crossed the line fifth and earned enough points to start his season with a commanding lead in the championship points. The Arden International driver has seven points over Davide Valsecchi with Calado taking third for his efforts today.
Valsecchi might have been closer to the points leader but retired from today's race after trying to move ahead of Razia. Valsecchi went off the track as Razia held his line. The DAMS driver tried to rejoin the track when Marcus Ericsson ran into the back end of the car, sending Ericcson into a flying tumble. Both Valsecchi and Ericsson walked away from the crash. The officials later deemed Ericcson was to blame for the incident and the iSport driver faces a ten place penalty on the gird in Bahrain next month.
Fabio Leimer came home in sixth, followed by Max Chilton in seventh and Nathanaël Berthon taking the final point today in eighth. Rapax's Ricardo Teixeira was handed a 1,000 Euro fine for unsafely rejoining the circuit during today's chaotic race.