Luiz Razia - Photo Credit: Andrew Ferraro/GP2 Series Media Service

Razia made it look easy despite the tough Malaysian conditions - Photo Credit: Andrew Ferraro/GP2 Series Media Service

Luiz Razia has taken a commanding victory in the opening race of the GP2 Series season at Sepang in Malaysia.

The Brazilian took the lead at the start after lining up on the front row of the grid, as polesitter Davide Valsecchi and third-placed Max Chilton fell to fourth and fifth behind the fast-starting Fabio Leimer and Stefano Coletti.

With Leimer in second holding up those behind him in the early laps, Razia ran away up front. He held his advantage over those behind during the pitstop phase, and took the checkered flag with a gap of 7.8 seconds. It was his second main series victory, his first since Monza in 2009, and the Arden team's first for nearly two years. It is infact his second win for the team though, the first having come in his most recent appearance for them in Bahrain at the end of the 2008-09 Asia Series.

Despite his poor start, Valsecchi fought his way back up to second in the early stages, first taking advantage of an error by Coletti to take third as the Monegasque driver tried to capitalise on Leimer's lack of pace. Valsecchi took Leimer for second a few laps later, and retained that place once the stops had been played out.

Chilton made up a couple of places when he stopped, getting past Leimer and Coletti. The Carlin driver held on to record his maiden GP2 podium finish, 27 seconds away from Razia.

Coletti dropped back from Leimer in the closing stages and came under pressure from Felipe Nasr, the British F3 champion making a very impressive debut. Esteban Gutierrez finished just behind after an eventful race having started 15th on the grid, which included him getting sideways and running across the grass as he entered the pitlane.

GP3 graduate James Calado was running ahead of Lotus GP teammate Gutierrez, but dropped back later on. He will start on pole position on the reverse grid for Sunday's sprint race. Giedo van der Garde finished ninth for Caterham, while Fabrizio Crestani scored a point on the debut of the Venezuela GP Lazarus team.