Valsecchi Steals Sprint Victory To Complete Dominant Weekend

Davide Valsecchi - Photo Credit: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service
Valsecchi celebrates his acheivement - Photo Credit: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service

Davide Valsecchi completed a sublime and dominant GP2 race weekend in Bahrain as he stole the sprint race victory on the very last lap.

Valsecchi had been clear of the field in free practice and qualifying, and took a commanding victory in Saturday's feature race. He began the sprint race from eighth on the reverse grid, but fought his way through to get past Esteban Gutierrez as they came through Turn 2 for the final time.

The start of the race had been aborted after Felipe Nasr – due to start from the back of the grid after a penalty for a clash with Johnny Cecotto in the feature race – came to a halt before getting to his grid slot. The field were waved off for a second formation lap, but third-placed-starter Tom Dillmann stalled himself, joining Nasr in starting from the pitlane.

When the race did get underway, James Calado made a stunning getaway from the fourth grid slot to squeeze between front row starters Fabio Onidi and Fabio Leimer, as he chased his third sprint race victory from as many attempts. His Lotus GP teammate Gutierrez also made a good start, moving up from sixth to third on the opening lap and then taking second from Leimer.

He then went off after Calado, the pair even making contact between turns 1 and 2 causing Gutierrez to lose part of his front wing. This allowed Leimer to take second place back, before passing Calado on lap five with Gutierrez following him into second.

Leimer looked comfortable out front until he was given a drive-through penalty for ignoring yellow flags. Gutierrez inherited the lead, but Valescchi was coming.

The series veteran had moved up to fifth in the opening laps, and passed Chilton and Calado on laps 13 and 14. He then began about destroying Gutierrez's advantage, catching the Mexican and getting by to become the first man to win both races in a GP2 weekend since Nico Hulkenberg at the Nurburgring in 2009.

Gutierrez and Calado completed the podium, the latter resisting pressure from fellow Brit Chilton, before Luiz Razia got by the Carlin man for fourth. Nasr completed a fine comeback to sixth place, Jolyon Palmer also coming from the back of the grid to finally score his first GP2 Series points. Simon Trummer picked up his first point in eighth.