Schilke, GP2 correspondent
Luiz Razia missed the GP2 Series season opener pole yesterday by only 0.060 seconds but in today’s first race of the weekend, the Arden driver left nothing to chance as he took the featured race win. DAMS driver Davide Valsecchi finished second by 7.8 seconds. The two were set for a battle on the 5.543 km Sepang circuit in Malaysia; however, the Razia was hot today and ended up dominating. Joining them on the first podium of the season was third fastest qualifier Max Chilton for the Carlin team.
Valsecchi was sluggish in getting away when the lights went out, while Razia grabbed the lead by the first turn. Moving from fifth on the grid into second was Racing Engineering’s Fabio Leimer. It did not take long for Razia to pull away and open up a cushion while those behind him were fighting for positions.
“I made a very good start and was able to open a sizeable lead during the first six laps," said Razia. "It has been a good day and I am now focusing on tomorrow."
Valescchi commented on his less than stellar start, "I almost stalled so in the end I was lucky to start at all! The team and my car deserved the win so it’s a shame that I lost it. Anyway for the team I made the pole position and the fastest lap so I need to be happy anyway."
By the mandatory pitstops Valsecchi had moved into second and set the fastest lap in pursuit of the leader. Chilton had to mount a challenge in order to earn his first GP2 podium after Leimer made a slight error, and had to settle for fourth. Chilton had to fight off leimer in the closing laps, as rain started to move over the circuit.
"It was a little bit tricky in the last ten laps but I think Fabio (Leimer) was also struggling," said Chilton. "And then the rain started coming and I started to get a little bit too cautious. I was a bit nervous at the end of the race but thankfully the rain held off and I could bring it home."
Scuderia Coloni’s Stefano Coletti ended fifth followed by Felipe Nasr for the DAMS team. Grabbing the final two slots for the reverse grid for Sunday’s sprint race were the two Lotus GP team drivers: Esteban Gutierrez and James Calado.
Calado will have pole for the second race and alongside him will be his teammate Gutierrez.
After the race a few penalties were handed down amongst the grid. Barwa Addax Team was fined 1,500 Euros for Jonny Cecotto's unsafe release from his pit box. The Venezuelan dropped out of the race when a rear tire came lose on the track after his stop.
Both Simon Trummer and Stephane Richelmi had 20 seconds added to their finishing time as a post race investigation found them guilty of causing collisons with their rivals. Trummer is now scored as finishing 23rd instead of 21st, while Richelmi dropped from 18th to 20th.