GP2 SeriesOpen Wheel

Perez Storms To Abu Dhabi Feature Race Victory

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Sergio Perez won the GP2 Feature Race at Abu Dhabi in dominant fashion, having taken the lead from polesitter Oliver Turvey before the first corner of the race.

The Mexican got a better launch than his rival, and romped away to victory. Turvey came under attack from Fabio Leimer at Turn 1, with the pair touching wheels, but Turvey kept his second place until the finish. Romain Grosjean made an impressive start, passing Davide Valsecchi and Luiz Razia away from the start and then taking third from Leimer at Turn 2.

A few corners later Adrian Zaugg was tipped into a spin by Michael Herck, the South African left stranded on the inside of the corner. This brought out the safety car. After the restart, Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton came together, sending the Frenchman spinning.

Sam Bird had an impressive race, finishing third after starting 18th due to a grid penalty. He quickly made his way up to seventh after the start, before an early pitstop strategy allowed him to move up to fifth. He later passed Razia and Grosjean to complete the podium behind Perez and Turvey. He came under pressure from Dani Clos but held on ahead of the Spaniard.

Grosjean dropped back after a problem during his pitstop, but the Frenchman recovered to finish in sixth, just behind Valsecchi. Razia came home in seventh, just ahead of Josef Kral, who scored the final point on his return from injury. He will start Sunday's sprint race on pole position.

Perez's victory sealed him the runners-up spot in the drivers' standings. In the post-race press conference, Perez said: I am quite happy. I am looking forward to tomorrow, and I think we had incredible pace today. I didn't care about second place really: as I said to you, second, third, fourth place is all the same, and all we have to do is keep working hard for tomorrow's race.”

Turvey was pleased, despite failing to convert his maiden pole position into a maiden victory. “We were hoping to win today,” he said, “and we knew that Sergio was probably going to be the biggest challenge there, and that proved to be right! I made a good start from pole, and it was fantastic to be there after yesterday's performance, but Sergio has always been very quick off the line: his starts have always been quite a bit better than most of the others, and he often made up a few places at the start. He got along side me and I didn't even have a chance to get across in front of him, I tried to out brake him into turn one but it wasn't really possible, so I tucked in behind him, got a little tap on the left rear corner and we were lucky not to get any damage, and then I just tried to keep pace with Sergio and stay as close as possible.

“I thought later in the race, maybe at the pitstop, we'd have a chance to get past him, and with the two long straights here there is a chance to overtake, but his pace was too strong today and we've seen in other races his race pace has been amazing! I was able to pull away from the rest of the guys in second, there was no one able to challenge us, but Sergio was just too quick: even after the pitstop he just got quicker and quicker, and I was on my own. But I think we did the best job we could today, and second was the best we could finish.”

Bird added: “It was very, very eventful. Obviously I set some targets before the race, I was gutted after qualifying with the 10 place grid penalty that six of us got for the same thing, and it made it very difficult to be positive about today's race. But we made some good changes overnight, the team did a super job, and there's not much more I can say really: it was just a good, fun race!

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