Pastor Maldonado made up for yesterday’s near miss in qualifying by dominating today’s feature race in Istanbul, beating polesitter Davide Valsecchi by almost 18 seconds.

After passing the slow-starting Valsecchi, Maldonado was unchallenged all the way to a flag, and duly took an easy first win of the season for the Venezuelan.

As Oliver Turvey lost out to both Sergio Perez and Sam Bird after being blocked by the leading duo at the first corner, Valsecchi had more problems than losing the lead when Perez quickly caught up and hassled him persistently over the next few laps, eventually jumping him during the round of pitstops.

Perez didn’t stay there for long however – his pace had dropped dramatically after his pitstop and on Lap 26 Valsecchi snuck by, reclaiming second place which he would hold until the checkered flag.

Meanwhile Turvey’s woes continued, earning a drive-through penalty due to excessive weaving, only to earn another drive-through for speeding during the first one. He fell way out of the points, and would only climb as high as 15th by the end.

Perez was still under pressure near the end, and with two laps left Bird dived down the inside of him at Turn 5. He almost dropped yet more positions before the race was over, driving super-defensively to keep team-mate Giedo van der Garde and Luiz Razia at bay.

There was chaos further back towards the end of the race – Giacomo Ricci was struggling on worn tyres and holding up Christian Vietoris, and when Vietoris attempted a pass he clouted the rear of Ricci’s car, allowing DPR team-mate Michael Herck by for the final point, while Ricci was forced to retire on the spot.

Herck still had plenty of speed left though, and quickly disposed of the other Racing Engineering car of Dani Clos, who later slipped behind team-mate Vietoris, handing the German pole for the sprint race tomorrow.

Coloni meanwhile lost both drivers in quick succession – Vladimir Arabadzhiev crashed into the barriers at the end of the long back straight, while only moments later at the same corner Alberto Valerio spun out and stalled while trying to get moving again.

However even once the race was over, positions were still changing. Just when Perez thought it couldn’t get any worse, his entire weekend was ruined in one foul swoop – his car was found to be underweight after post-race inspection, and was subsequently disqualified. He will also start from the back of the grid for tomorrow’s sprint race, making his task harder still.

Results

Pos Driver                  Team
1.  Pastor Maldonado        Rapax
2.  Davide Valsecchi        iSport International
3.  Sam Bird                ART Grand Prix
4.  Giedo van der Garde     Barwa Addax Team
5.  Luiz Razia              Rapax
6.  Michael Herck           DPR
7.  Christian Vietoris      Racing Engineering
8.  Dani Clos               Racing Engineering
9.  Max Chilton             Ocean Racing Technology
10. Jerome d'Ambrosio       DAMS
11. Ho-Pin Tung             DAMS
12. Johnny Cecotto          Trident Racing
13. Fabio Leimer            Ocean Racing Technology
14. Oliver Turvey           iSport International
15. Josef Kral              Super Nova Racing
16. Rodolfo Gonzalez        Arden International
17. Alberto Valerio         Scuderia Coloni
EX. Sergio Perez            Barwa Addax Team

Not classified
    Vladimir Arabadzhiev    Scuderia Coloni
    Adrian Zaugg            Trident Racing
    Giacomo Ricci           DPR
    Marcus Ericsson         Super Nova Racing
    Charles Pic             Arden International
    Jules Bianchi           ART Grand Prix