Bird fends off Nasr for Sprint Race win
21 April 2013 – Russian Time driver Sam Bird claimed victory in an ultra-close finish to Sunday morning's GP2 Sprint Race at Sakhir, taking the chequered flag just 0.088 seconds ahead of Carlin rival Felipe Nasr. In third, Stefano Coletti picked up his fourth podium finish in as many races and ensured the continuation of his championship advantage.
Tom Dillmann, who started from pole position as a result of the reverse grid ruling, narrowly held onto his lead as the lights went out, keeping Adrian Quaife-Hobbs in check on the run down to the first corner. Meanwhile, Coletti stormed through from seventh on the grid to occupy third position after the first sequence of corners.
Slow-starting Bird found a way back past Quaife-Hobbs and Coletti later on Lap 1 before applying pressure on team-mate Dillmann. The Mercedes reserve made a move at the final corner of the first tour, sparking a thrilling battle for the lead. Dillmann did his best to fight back, running side-by-side at one point, but the Frenchman's efforts ultimately lost him time and saw him fall behind both Coletti and Nasr.
Although Bird was able to build up a comfortable advantage in the early stages, tyre degradation soon played its role in the outcome of the race. Coletti and Nasr were able to slash Bird's gap as the finish neared, but a mistake from the championship leader saw him fall back to third, while the latter set about fighting for the victory.
Despite his best efforts and a dramatic final lap battle, Nasr could not pull off a move and had to settle for second position, with Coletti securing yet another rostrum result. Dillmann finished a lonely fourth after his early phase at the front, while Calado took advantage of rivals' errors to claim fifth. Jolyon Palmer and Daniel Abt were next up, while Quaife-Hobbs claimed the final Sprint Race point on offer in eight place.
Coletti, on a total of 64, sits ten points clear of main rival Leimer in the standings after the Swiss driver's failure to score on Sunday, with Nasr holding third position.
The third round of the GP2 season takes place in Spain from 10-12 May