It seems as though Davide Valsecchi is making Sunday wins his specialty. After he dominated the last race of the GP2 Series in Monza last month, he drove from pole to victory in this morning's sprint race in the opening event of the GP2 Asia Series. However, he had to withstand pressure from My Qi-Meritus.Mahara's Earl Bamber. The young Kiwi once again made a strong impression after another great start and an impressive pace that allowed him to finish second hence snatching his first GP2 podium.
As usual, there was much action and drama first with Mika Maki stalling on the pre-grid and then Sakon Yamamoto failing to get away when the lights went out. However, all eyes were on poleman Valsecchi who held off Van der Drift while Earl Bamber found a way to overtake the Trident racer. In turn 4, Diego Nunes span and although nobody touched him, Kamui Kobayashi, whose start had not been good, lost another couple positions. Further back, Iaconelli and Ricci came together, ending both of their races prematurely.
Javier Villa overtook Petrov for 4th while Valsecchi and Bamber pulled away thanks to a slower Van der Drift holding up the rest of the pack. Another rookie showed his overtaking skills: Sergio Perez. Starting from 24th, the youngest driver on the grid, made his way up to 7th. On the other hand, the race went from bad to worse for Japanese ace Kamui Kobayashi as his car was damaged in a small collision. He retired in the final stages of the event. His teammate on the other hand fought his way back to 5th notably through a strong move on Petrov. The Russian later had to retire with what seemed to be a fuel delivery problem.
At the chequered flag, an ecstatic Valsecchi took victory ahead of Earl Bamber and Javier Villa in spite of a small mistake on the second-to-last lap. Van der Drift took fourth, d'Ambrosio fifth while yesterday's winner Rodriguez grabbed the remaining point.
Davide Valsecchi (Durango) Winner: "I was worried about the start because it's not my strongest point. But today, I managed to keep my position. Then I decided to push for two laps in order to stay in front. In the first half of the race, I wasn't so competitive, but then it got better. Next race, I want to stay in the Top 5 because I strongly believe this is our position in the championship. If I want to win a Saturday race, I will have to qualify well. That is the key."
Earl Bamber (My Qi-Meritus.Mahara) 2nd: "We came with no expectation: I have not a lot of experience. We didn't get the best launch: I managed to box Petrov behind Van der Drift. Then I had a lot of grip on the outside. That's how I got in P2. It's a fantastic result for the team. Now I'll take it race by race. That's the best approach. Let's hope the good results continue."
Javier Villa (Super Nova Racing) 3rd: "It was a great race. I overtook Vitaly and was behind Van der Drift. I lost a lot of time trying to overtake him and once I did, I pushed really hard to close the gap with Bamber. That's how I made my small mistake. That's part of the race. I finished P4 yesterday and on the podium today. I'm still improving."