Leimer claims GP2 title as Rossi wins
2 November 2013 – Fabio Leimer wrapped up the GP2 title with a fourth-place finish during Saturday's Feature Race in Abu Dhabi, while Caterham's Alexander Rossi secured his maiden victory in the category. Sam Bird could only claim one point after stalling on the grid.
Before the action got underway, there was an additional formation lap after a trio of cars stalled. But there was even more drama to follow when the grid reassembled, with Bird devastatingly unable to get his Russian Time machine off the line.
At this point, Jolyon Palmer surged into the lead, with pole-sitter Rossi dropping back to second. A nasty collision between Jon Lancaster and Tom Dillmann, which saw Lancaster's front wing mount Dillmann's helmet, brought out the Safety Car to give Bird glimmer of hope, but the title hopeful's afternoon was severely hindered.
Palmer and Rossi, who both started the race on the Prime tyres, maintained their positions and gradually began to pull away from the field as the action resumed, with Racing Engineering's Leimer struggling to match their lap times on the Options.
As the Option runners made their early stops, the attention switched to what Palmer and Rossi would do at the front of the field. Rossi was the first to come in, putting only fresh rears on, while Palmer followed a lap later and switched to the Super Softs.
But despite a late Safety Car period, signalled after a clumsy collision between Mitch Evans and Sergio Canamasas at the final corner, Palmer was unable to overhaul his American rival, with the pair separated by just over two seconds at the chequered flag.
Ericsson pulled off a move on Leimer in the closing laps to take the final podium spot, but the latter crucially enters tomorrow's finale with an 18-point advantage over Bird, who ultimately required just one more point after crossing the line in 10th position.
Dani Clos and James Calado were next to finish after Leimer, while Felipe Nasr, Johnny Cecotto, Jr. plus the aforementioned Abt and Bird completed the top ten.
Sunday's Sprint Race in Abu Dhabi gets underway at 1.15pm local time (GMT +4)