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Britain’s James Calado has won the second GP2 race of the weekend in Germany, which was staged before the Formula 1 Grand Prix on Sunday morning. The Lotus driver led home Caterham F1 reserve Giedo van der Garde, with Brazil’s Felipe Nasr completing the podium.
The win was set up when the lights went out, as Calado stormed off the line as Nigel Melker stuttered behind him, bunching up much of the field. When front row starter Luiz Razia went wide at Turn 1, Nasr slid past van der Garde at the next corner, with Leimer joining the pair to run three-wide at the hairpin, leaving Razia nowhere to go but into a spin.
Max Chilton and Tom Dillmann were trapped behind the Brazilian and came together on the apex of the hairpin, prompting a Safety Car period to remove the stricken vehicles. The delay lasted for only one lap and Calado was soon easing away from van der Garde, who had found a way back past his Brazilian rival once again.
Esteban Gutiérrez was on a charge and quickly disposed of Josef Kral, who was in the points after an amazing start, and Melker as he looked to salvage some points from his weekend in Germany; his job was made easier as Nasr was unable to stay with the lead pair and was bunching up the field behind him.
Johnny Cecotto was his next target, and the Venezuelan's pace was no match for his rivals: the Mexican was through on Lap 10. Further back and Melker was struggling too, baulking his rivals as they tripped over each other in the closing laps of the race, with a huge train of cars squabbling for lap after lap. Back at the front, Calado serenely closed out the race ahead of van der Garde, with Nasr finishing third, ten seconds behind the Dutchman.
Leimer held on from immense pressure from Gutiérrez to close out in fourth place, while Cecotto had a lonely race until Jolyon Palmer got by Melker with a few laps to go and crossed the line on the Venezuelan's rear wing. Stefano Coletti was the last man to grab a point, a just reward for a battling drive all race long.
Razia's disappointment will be mitigated by his maintenance of the championship lead over Davide Valsecchi, 171 points to 159, with Gutiérrez closing the gap with 129 points, ahead of van der Garde on 119, while Calado's win puts him on 116 points, ahead of Leimer and Chilton on 95. Lotus will be delighted to head to Budapest on 245 points, ahead of their local rivals DAMS on 227, Arden on 175, with Racing Engineering on 136 points and Caterham on 125.
GP2 continues at Budapest’s Hungaroring next weekend
ART Grand Prix
|2.||G. van der Garde||Caterham||+7.962|
|4.||F. Leimer||Racing Engin.||+21.962|
|6.||J. Cecotto Jr.||Addax||+33.193|
|8.||N. Melker||Ocean Racing||+41.861|
|9.||N. Berthon||Racing Engin.||+42.196|
|ART Grand Prix|
|1 May||Calado joins forces with Nicolas Todt|
|24 Mar||Calado penalised for causing crash|
|19 Dec '12||Abt graduates to GP2 with Lotus GP|
|11 Dec '12||Lotus GP retains Calado for 2013 campaign|
|GP2: Germany 2012|
|22 Jul '12||Latest GP2 photos: Sunday at Hockenheim|
|22 Jul '12||Calado enjoys comfortable victory at Hockenheim|
|21 Jul '12||Latest GP2 photos: Saturday at Hockenheim|
|21 Jul '12||Cecotto wins from 18th on the grid|
|24 Mar||Video: Calado crashes in Sprint Race|
|6 Mar||Calado quickest as Barcelona test continues|
|28 Feb||Calado quickest as Jerez test concludes|
|22 Jun '12||Calado claims GP2 pole in Valencia|
|16 May||Three-day Abu Dhabi test for GP2 and GP3|
|13 May||Haryanto gets grid penalty for Monaco|
|12 May||Latest GP2 photos: Sunday in Barcelona|
|12 May||Coletti takes controlled Sprint Race win|
|More James Calado photos|