Van Der Garde Jumps Calado During Pitstops To Win Feature Race

Giedo van der Garde - Photo Credit: Charles Coates/GP2 Media Service
Van der Garde celebrates bringing an end to his win drought - Photo Credit: Charles Coates/GP2 Media Service

Giedo van der Garde finally ended a winless streak dating back to Monza in September 2009 to win the GP2 Series feature race in Barcelona, after getting ahead of polesitter James Calado during the pitstop phase.

Calado maintained the lead of the race at the start, but only after running side-by-side with Fabio Leimer through the first couple of corners.

Calado and Leimer came in for their mandatory pitstop together, with the pair running side-by-side down the pitlane after a slightly quicker stop from Leimer's Racing Engineering crew. Calado managed to stay ahead, and Leimer was later handed a drive-through penalty for an unsafe release.

Caterham driver Van der Garde was running third early on, but stopped a lap later and after only having his rear tyres changed he emerged from the pitlane ahead of Calado to inherit the race lead. Despite coming under heavy pressure at stages from Lotus GP driver Calado, the Dutchman successfully held on to win.

The result made up for 12 months ago, when he was leading the feature race before being passed through the pitstops by teammate Charles Pic.

Once Leimer served his penalty it was Stefano Coletti who latched on to the leading battle for a while, but would eventually settle for a podium finish after a difficult start to the season.

Championship leader Davide Valsecchi didn't have the same pace he had shown in Barcelona and was fourth, eight seconds behind Coletti. Nathanael Berthon recovered some pride for Racing Engineering on home soil by recording his best GP2 result in fifth. Fabio Onidi was another to score his best result, having had to duck out of an ambitious manoeuvre on Berthon at turn one. He crossed the line just ahead of Max Chilton and Luiz Razia, who will start at the front of the grid for Sunday’s sprint race.

Jolyon Palmer finished ninth after making up a number of places in the second half of the race, including a fine move past Felipe Nasr. Esteban Gutierrez was tenth after a difficult race that saw him 14th for much of the duration before also making up places late on. Nasr finished 11th after starting 22nd, ahead of Leimer.

Nigel Melker was having a strong race and running eighth after the stops, but had to serve a drive-through for speeding in the pitlane.

The very end of the race saw a rather comical battle towards the back over 17th place. Tom Dillmann slid down the inside of Johnny Cecotto into turn ten, but ran wide allowing Fabrizio Crestani through. Dillmann and Cecotto then made contact at the following corner meaning the Frenchman slid off the track. Julian Leal then span just behind Cecotto as he tried to take advantage.