Fabio Leimer has been crowned the 2013 GP2 champion following the feature race in Abu Dhabi, as Alexander Rossi took a lights to flag victory for Caterham.
For championship rival Sam Bird, the race started in the worst possible way – the Russian Time driver stalled on the grid – and saw Racing Engineering’s Leimer and Carlin’s Jolyon Palmer blast past before he could get underway.
Marcus Ericsson was fighting Leimer lap after lap trying to find a way on to the podium and, with the eyes on the prize, Leimer eventually relented less he get tangled with the Swede and lose everything.
“The 2013 championship was a really nice one, because early we had Coletti leading a lot with Nasr, and then they had some problems for a few races so me and Bird were improving and could make more and more points, and then at the end it was really close together,” said Leimer.
“For GP2 it was really nice, and everyone was talking about me and him because we were so close, and at the last race you just never know what will happen: yesterday he was in front of me and it gave me even more pressure, and in the end we did it.”
As the Checkered Flag fell it was Rossi who crossed the line first for EQ8 Caterham with Palmer second and Ericsson third. Leimer was fourth ahead of Dani Clos – who was involved in a deep fight with sixth placed James Calado – with Felipe Nasr and Johnny Cecotto rounding out the top eight.
The points table shows Leimer on 191 points with Bird 18 points behind, only 15 points are available for tomorrows sprint race so Bird’s best finish would be three points behind Leimer.
The GP2 champion was gracious in victory and had this to say about his triumph: “I still can’t believe it, it’s just amazing, because GP2 is the strongest category apart from Formula 1, and there are not many people who can say they’ve won this championship! I’m really, really happy, and I’m focussed on tomorrow because there is still another race and I want to finish on the podium.”
Everyone at www.TheCheckeredFlag.co.uk would like to congratulate Fabio Leimer on his GP2 crown and wish him the best of luck for 2014, wherever he may be.