Leimer claims commanding victory
20 April 2013 – Fabio Leimer claimed victory from pole position in Saturday’s GP2 Feature Race in Bahrain, with the Swiss driver combining strong pace and a good strategy to fend off challenges from Stefano Coletti and rookie Alexander Rossi.
On the opening lap, Coletti managed to pass a slow-starting Felipe Nasr from fourth on the grid, with the Rapax driver immediately putting pressure on Leimer. Further down the field, Sam Bird made a blazing start from ninth to challenge Nasr for third place into Turn 1, with Rossi and Jolyon Palmer fighting for fifth just behind.
Leimer pulled a comfortable gap in the early stages to keep Coletti at bay, with both men managing their Soft tyres to try and make them last as long as possible. On Lap 7, Rossi was the first man at the front to pit for Hard tyres, rejoining in 19th. Palmer did the same a lap later and came out behind the American. Bird and Nasr stopped two laps later and lost positions to Rossi and Palmer as they fed back onto the circuit.
On Lap 10, Leimer and Coletti pitted together for Hard tyres and rejoined ahead of Rossi, and the three men proceeded to battle their way through the field. After Adrian Quaife-Hobbs, who had opted to start on the Hard tyres, pitted for some fresh rubber on Lap 20, Leimer reclaimed the lead and managed the gap to the chasing pack.
At the chequered flag, Leimer finished 1.9 seconds ahead of Coletti, recording his second Feature Race win this season. Rossi enjoyed a first podium finish on his GP2 debut for Caterham Racing, and the Carlin duo of Nasr and Palmer took fourth and fifth. Bird finished sixth, just ahead of Quaife-Hobbs who overcame Dillmann in the final laps, with Simon Trummer and Johnny Cecotto Jr. picking up the final points.
Sunday's Sprint Race begins at 10:50am local time (GMT -3)