Having started on pole Romain Grosjean finished the GP2 Asia feature race at Abu Dhabi second, losing out to Jules Bianchi for the year's first victory but still heralding a “great result”.
“My second place is a great result for the whole team, and for me,” said Grosjean. “We did a great job for the first race and we’re as quick as the best. I was slightly faster than Jules, but overtaking is impossible here. We lost the race at the start because of a clutch problem. Now, I’m sure that the DAMS team will win races this year.”
A minor clutch problem hampered Grosjean's start, allowing Bianchi to slip by before turn one but Grosjean hounded Bianchi for almost the entire race – seldom much more than a second adrift of his fellow Frenchman. However, after a stumbling getaway from his pitstop – the same clutch gremlin to blame – on the Yas Marina circuit so criticised for its limited overtaking spots the one time F1 driver had little chance of taking the lead, and eventually had to settle for second place, which translated into the seventh starting for tomorrow's shorter race.
Grosjean's Norwegian teammate Pal Varhaug – in his first GP2 outing in contrast to Grosjean – was less lucky, a victim of a start line shunt.
When Dani Clos stalled on the grid Varhaug went for the gap between the stranded car and thewas wall, and was almost safely past the danger when Luis Razia first hit Clos then speared into (and on top of) Varhaug's yellow and black charge. All three were uninjured in the accident which necessitated a 30 minute red flag to clear the track.
“I made a good getaway and then suddenly chaos broke out in front of me,” Varhaug describes the incident. “I tried to avoid it by going left of the car stuck in the middle of the track, but another car slammed into me. I was punted into the wall without being able to do anything about it. It was one hell of an impact! The car’s in a pretty bad state. Even so I hope to be able to start tomorrow.”
The resulting DNF leaves Varhaug starting tomorrow's race from the rear of the field, team principal Loic Duval promising the team will “burn the midnight oil” to repair the car and put both DAMS cars back on the grid.