Esteban Gutierrez took his maiden GP2 victory with a dominant win in the sprint race at Valencia.
The reigning GP3 Series champion started second on the grid, and had to hold onto it at the start under pressure from Luis Razia, behind polesitter Josef Kral who retained his lead.
Championship contenders Sam Bird and Romain Grosjean made contact at Turn 3, forcing Bird to limp back to the pits. Grosjean meanwhile spun at Turn 5, with Rodolfo Gonzalez and Charles Pic left with nowhere to go.
This brought out the safety car for one lap, and after the restart Kral made a mistake under braking which allowed both Gutierrez and Razia through. From there Gutierrez stretched his lead, winning by 13 seconds.
“It’s a very good result for us, a very good step from what we did at the previous events,” said Gutierrez. “Of course it’s always important to be very progressive and to be very constant, and we struggled a bit with this in the first few events: now in Valencia it was our main goal to be constant, and to do a step.
“We finally achieved it, and this is something that personally and inside the team makes us very motivated, because the way it’s working is going in the right direction: this is very important for us, to keep some confidence. But we have to be realistic: it’s only one win, it’s only one event, and we have to keep getting points and to improve.”
Giedo van der Garde and Dani Clos soon got past Kral, and van der Garde chased Razia home, but the Brazilian was able to hang onto second place just ahead of the Dutchman.
Clos lost fourth place to Davide Valsecchi in the closing stages, finishing just ahead of Michael Herck, who took the final point in sixth. Jules Bianchi came from the back of the grid to seventh, just outside the points.
Grosjean holds onto his championship lead despite spinning out, one point ahead of van der Garde. Valsecchi lies three points further behind, with Bird three points behind him and Pic another three behind. The next round takes place at Silverstone in two weeks time.
|1||E. GutiÃ©rrez||Lotus ART||43:34.905|
|2||L. Razia||Caterham Team AirAsia||12.995|
|3||G. Van Der Garde||Barwa Addax Team||13.842|
|4||D. Valsecchi||Caterham Team AirAsia||26.633|
|5||D. Clos||Racing Engineering||30.130|
|6||M. Herck||Scuderia Coloni||30.374|
|7||J. Bianchi||Lotus ART||34.651|
|8||K. Mirocha||Ocean Racing Technology||34.677|
|11||M. Ericsson||iSport International||40.932|
|12||S. Bird||iSport International||42.599|
|13||C. Vietoris||Racing Engineering||44.840|
|15||L. Filippi||Super Nova Racing||46.777|
|16||F. Fauzy||Super Nova Racing||57.433|
|17||J. Cecotto||Ocean Racing Technology||68.309|
|19||S. Coletti||Trident Racing||21 laps|
|20||K. Ceccon||Scuderia Coloni||21 laps|
|Ret||Josef Kral||Arden International||14 laps|
|Ret||Jolyon Palmer||Arden International||14 laps|
|Ret||Max Chilton||Carlin||3 laps|
|Ret||Romain Grosjean||Dams||0 laps|
|Ret||Rodolfo Gonzalez||Trident Racing||0 laps|
|Ret||Charles Pic||Barwa Addax Team||0 laps|