Bird sweeps to comfortable Sprint win
22 September 2013 – Sam Bird took a commanding victory in the GP2 Series Sprint Race at the Marina Bay street circuit on Sunday afternoon, making a perfect getaway from pole position and conducting an assured drive thereafter to take the chequered flag. Marcus Ericsson claimed second, with points leader Fabio Leimer finishing an important third.
An immaculate start from Bird preceded what was to be an easy drive to victory. Leimer settled into third, while further back a collision caused by Stefano Coletti resulted in a drive-through for the one-time championship leader – finally putting the Rapax driver's faint title hopes to bed after a poor second half of the season.
As the race wore on the Prime tyre revealed itself to be the best choice on Sunday, with Jon Lancaster impressively working his way into fifth after scything past James Calado and Feature Race winner Joylon Palmer. Daniel Abt was another making his way upwards, but found his charge cut short after receiving a penalty for failing to slow down adequately under yellow flags. The German was later disqualified after refusing to take his punishment within the requisite three laps.
With Bird's engineer periodically instructing him to save tyres, Ericsson managed to peg the lead gap to below two seconds for much of the race to keep the Russian Time man honest, but the Swede never really looked like having the ultimate pace to usurp his British rival, eventually finishing five seconds in arrears.
Leimer's measured drive brought him a valuable podium to minimise the loss to Bird, with Stéphane Richelmi coming home fourth. Lancaster was next up ahead of Johnny Cecotto Jr. and Daniël de Jong, with Adrian Quiafe-Hobbs taking the final point.
Claiming his fifth win of the 2013 campaign, Bird moves to within seven points of ongoing leader Leimer, setting up a thrilling finale in Abu Dhabi. The top two have now moved well clear of the field, with Felipe Nasr a further 31 points back in third place.
The final round of the 2013 GP2 campaign takes place from November 1-3