GP2 Series points leader Davide Valsecchi's chances of leaving Valencia with his healthy points advantage intact have taken a hit after he was penalised for overtaking during the safety car in the feature race.
After recovering from a bad start that saw him fall from sixth on the grid down to 15th, Valsecchi had been classified in eighth place – a result that would have given him pole position for the reverse grid sprint race and a good chance of extending his lead at the head of the championship.
He has now had 20 seconds added to his time after he overtook under the second of three safety car periods during the chaotic race. That drops him to 18th place, which is where he will now have to start the sprint race. It was his second penalty of the weekend having been penalised in qualifying for impeding others.
Valsecchi entered the weekend with a 31 point lead over nearest rival Luiz Razia, but Razia’s podium finish reduced that to 20. Valsecchi’s loss of eighth place cuts that further to 16, while Razia will start sixth for the sprint race.
It means that James Calado inherits eighth place in the feature race and the sprint race pole position, giving him a great opportunity to make up for the disappointment of the way his feature race turned out.
The Englishman had started from pole and driven faultlessly to build up a comfortable lead, but saw that wiped out by the first safety car intervention, which came when, unlike Calado, the rest of the frontrunners had made their mandatory pitstops.
Jolyon Palmer and Rodolfo Gonzalez will start the sprint race from the back of the grid after being handed ten place grid penalties for causing their collisions with Fabrizio Crestani and his Lazarus teammate Giancarlo Serenelli during the race.