James Calado won the 2013 GP2 Series season finale in Abu Dhabi on Sunday afternoon to clinch third place in the drivers’ championship. Further back, fellow Briton Sam Bird’s fourth place was enough to win the teams’ title for Russian Time as rival Carlin suffered a disastrous race.
ART racer Calado scored his second win of the season thanks to a blinding start that rocketed him past the front row of Johnny Cecotto Jr. (Arden) and Felipe Nasr (Carlin).
Seconds later, Nasr pushed Cecotto into a spin at the first corner that caused huge evasive action behind that shook up the order, with feature race winner Alexander Rossi among those eliminated. Dani Clos took the most benefit, having bogged down on the grid, and surged his MP Motorsport machine past newly crowned champion Fabio Leimer at Turn 2.
Two safety cars interrupted the race, but Calado held his nerve to win by 0.7sec from Clos, having been as much as 3.7sec clear only for his lead to be negated.
“Just what we came here to do, well done boys,” he said on the slowing down lap after a result that lifted him to third in the standings.
Leimer kept Clos honest throughout the race, but dropped away to finish a distant third at the finish.
Bird finished fourth, which was enough to elevate Russian Time ahead of Carlin, although Bird reported his car was “very difficult to drive”.
After Nasr’s shunt at the opening turn, for which he got a drive-through penalty, Carlin teammate Jolyon Palmer dropped out of the top 10 after clouting a curb in the hotel section. He battled his way back ahead of Julian Leal, but was later forced out with a problem at the rear of his car. With neither Carlin car scoring, Bird’s fourth was enough for the teams’ title.
Daniel Abt concluded his best-ever GP2 weekend in fifth place for ART, ahead of Marcus Ericsson, Simon Trummer and Sergio Canamasas.
Results - 22 laps:Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. James Calado ART 44m04.124s 2. Dani Clos MP +0.787s 3. Fabio Leimer Racing Engineering +4.965s 4. Sam Bird Russian Time +9.440s 5. Daniel Abt ART +9.957s 6. Marcus Ericsson DAMS +11.981s 7. Simon Trummer Rapax +13.188s 8. Sergio Canamasas Caterham +16.432s 9. Stefano Coletti Rapax +18.117s10. Julian Leal Racing Engineering +18.487s11. Jake Rosenzweig Addax +24.753s12. Rio Haryanto Addax +33.689s13. Nathanael Berthon Trident +34.153s14. Mitch Evans Arden +34.485s15. Gianmarco Raimondo Trident +36.123s16. Rene Binder Lazarus +36.884s17. Daniel de Jong MP +37.471s18. Felipe Nasr Carlin +40.271s19. Vittorio Ghirelli Lazarus +41.869s20. Stephane Richelmi DAMS +1m19.122s21. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs Hilmer +3 laps* *Not running at finish Retirements: Jolyon Palmer Carlin 17 laps Jon Lancaster Hilmer 9 laps Johnny Cecotto Jr Arden 0 laps Alexander Rossi Caterham 0 laps