Davide Valsecchi secured his third straight victory on the Bahrain International Circuit in less than a week with an assured performance in the feature race at the standalone GP2 meeting.
Valsecchi began the race from second on the grid, and had to play second fiddle to polesitter Giedo van der Garde during the opening stages. The Dutchman's tyres started to go off early on though, and was forced to succumb to Valsecchi just eight laps, before losing second place soon afterwards to Fabio Leimer.
Valsecchi and Leimer made their mandatory pitstop together, and although the latter began to close in soon after that, Valsecchi then pulled away to win by seven seconds. Van der Garde finished a lonely third in the end, scoring Caterham's first podium finish since Hungary last year.
A good start from Marcus Ericsson got him up into fourth at the start, and looked on course to fight back from a difficult start to the season. However, he struggled badly with his tyres towards the finish and slumped to eighth place. Luiz Razia inherited fourth, holding off Max Chilton until the finish.
Chilton's Carlin teammate Rio Haryanto had made a fast start to battle over third into the first corner, but he quickly fell back to ninth within a couple of laps. He gained a couple of places past Felipe Nasr and Rodolfo Gonzalez (who ran as high as sixth in the opening stages) before making his pitstop, but at that point he fell behind the earlier-stopping Johnny Cecotto and Tom Dillmann, ending up back in ninth again.
He would soon find his way back ahead of Cecotto and Dillmann, and took sixth from the struggling Ericsson before the finish.
Nasr fell back into the midfield when he lost time in his pitstop, but despite changing tyres earlier than many of those ahead of him he fought back through to finish seventh after getting by Dillmann and then Ericsson in the final laps. He'd previously pulled a double pass on Fabrizio Crestani and Esteban Gutierrez, and will start Saturday’s sprint race on the front row alongside Ericsson.
Dilmann and Cecotto completed the top ten, the latter finally scoring reigning teams' champions Addax's first point of the season. Gutierrez crossed the line in 11th on a difficult day for top team Lotus GP.
Gutierrez and teammate James Calado opted to only do an out lap each in free practice in order to save tyres, but that tactic backfired hugely when they could only qualify in 13th and 22nd respectively. Calado then stalled at the start of the formation lap, forcing him to start from the pits. Neither driver proved to be very competitive during the race, with Calado forced into making a second pitstop before the flag despite his tyre-saving strategy.