Fabio Leimer beat him to the top step. But Coletti bounced back in the sprint race, taking the win and fastest lap to claim the early championship lead.
James Calado recovered from a poor start in the first race to claim second but carries a penalty into the next round of the championship following a first-lap crash in the sprint race.
After top four finishes in both races Felipe Nasr holds third in the championship points behind Leimer.
|2||James Calado||ART Grand Prix||1’44.284||+0.004||2|
|4||Fabio Leimer||Racing Engineering||1’44.463||+0.183||4|
|5||Sam Bird||Russian Time||1’44.598||+0.318||8|
|6||Mitch Evans||Arden International||1’44.618||+0.338||5|
|7||Rio Haryanto||Barwa Addax Team||1’44.681||+0.401||6|
|8||Rene Binder||Venezuela GP Lazarus||1’44.687||+0.407||7|
|10||Tom Dillmann||Russian Time||1’44.731||+0.451||10|
|11||Julian Leal||Racing Engineering||1’44.732||+0.452||11|
|12||Sergio Canamasas||Caterham Racing||1’44.761||+0.481||12|
|14||Johnny Cecotto||Arden International||1’44.788||+0.508||26|
|15||Adrian Quaife-Hobbs||MP Motorsport||1’45.191||+0.911||14|
|17||Conor Daly||Hilmer Motorsport||1’45.289||+1.009||16|
|18||Nathanael Berthon||Trident Racing||1’45.378||+1.098||17|
|19||Kevin Ceccon||Trident Racing||1’45.491||+1.211||18|
|20||Ma Qinghua||Caterham Racing||1’45.497||+1.217||19|
|21||Daniel de Jong||MP Motorsport||1’45.522||+1.242||20|
|22||Daniel Abt||ART Grand Prix||1’45.593||+1.313||21|
|24||Jake Rosenzweig||Barwa Addax Team||1’45.708||+1.428||23|
|25||Pal Varhaug||Hilmer Motorsport||1’45.830||+1.550||24|
|26||Kevin Giovesi||Venezuela GP Lazarus||1’45.985||+1.705||25|
Calado struggles and Leimer flies from the start
Calado made a poor getaway at the start and was gobbled up by the faster starting Nasr and Leimer behind. Leimer challenged Coletti for the lead into turn one but the Rapax driver held position as Calado fought his way back past Nasr.
Meanwhile Mitch Evans made a superb start on his GP2 debut, moving up to fifth and then demoting Calado as well. But at turn nine Marcus Ericsson missed his braking point and ran into Jolyon Palmer, taking himself out of the race.
The MP Motorsport pair were running near the rear of the field on the team’s debut, and it was about to get worse for them. At the end of lap four Adrian Quaife-Hobbs attempted a late lunge up the inside of his team mate Daniel de Jong into the final corner and the pair collided.
While De Jong gyrated Quaife-Hobbs attempted to go around the outside but the pair made contact again – left rear to left rear – eliminating both on the spot.
Bird and Palmer make gains
As Leimer applied pressure to Coletti up front the leader began to struggle on his tyres and eventually made his mandatory pit stop on lap six. Evans followed him in having been re-passed by Calado and Nasr. Leimer had now been released and set about posting a string of fastest laps to try and jump Coletti.
Towards the end of lap ten Calado’s team mate Daniel Abt finished early what was proving to be a miserable d?â?®but by spinning off at turn 13 completely on his own and stalling the car.
Leimer and Calado pitted together on lap 11 but despite the former’s best efforts he rejoined behind Coletti. At this point Sam Bird and Jolyon Palmer moved into the lead of the race having started on the harder tyres. The Carlin man was handed the lead however as Bird – along with a number of other drivers – received penalties for ignoring yellow flags.
Nathanael Berthon was using a similar strategy however a botched pitstop ruined his strategy. The Trident driver rejoined but pulled off the circuit later in the lap.
Coletti loses grip
Palmer eventually pitted for option tyres on lap 21 handing the lead back to Coletti, who now became embroiled in a tense duel with Leimer. As Coletti’s tyres wilted the pair fought for laps until Leimer wrested control of the lead on lap 27.
Due to Coletti’s severe lack of grip Calado also closed and completed demoted him to second a lap later.
Nasr closed quickly on Coletti but just ran out of laps to attempt a move to take the final podium place. Julian Leal finished fifth while Palmer and Bird managed sixth and seventh on their alternate strategies. Stephane Richelmi finished eighth, meaning he took pole for the sprint race, while Simon Trummer and Evans competed the points.
After the race Quaife-Hobbs was handed a twenty-five second time penalty for his collision with his team mate, despite retiring from the race. This meant he would start last on the grid for the sprint race.
Feature race results
|1||Fabio Leimer||Racing Engineering||57’49.385||4|
|2||James Calado||ART Grand Prix||+2.045||2|
|5||Julian Leal||Racing Engineering||+28.837||11|
|7||Sam Bird||Russian Time||+41.183||8|
|10||Mitch Evans||Arden International||+1:13.730||5|
|11||Rene Binder||Venezuela GP Lazarus||+1:16.137||7|
|12||Johnny Cecotto||Arden International||+1:18.357||26*|
|13||Conor Daly||Hilmer Motorsport||+1:20.096||16|
|14||Tom Dillmann||Russian Time||+1:21.812||10|
|15||Pal Varhaug||Hilmer Motorsport||+1:23.754||24|
|16||Kevin Giovesi||Venezuela GP Lazarus||+1:35.775||25|
|17||Kevin Ceccon||Trident Racing||+1:37.928||18|
|18||Jake Rosenzweig||Barwa Addax Team||+1’43.252||23|
|19||Sergio Canamasas||Caterham Racing||+2:00.257||12|
|20||Rio Haryanto||Barwa Addax Team||+ 1 Lap||6|
|21||Ma Qinghua||Caterham Racing||+ 1 Lap||19|
|DNF||Nathanael Berthon||Trident Racing||20||17|
|DNF||Daniel Abt||ART Grand Prix||10||21|
|DNF||Daniel de Jong||MP Motorsport||4||20|
|DNF||Adrian Quaife-Hobbs||MP Motorsport||4||14|
Fastest lap: Sam Bird (Russian Time) ?óÔé¼ÔÇØ 1’48.777 (lap 16)
Ma Qing Hua had battled through Saturday race despite suffering acute food poisoning, but was still unwell on Sunday morning and did not take the start for the Sprint race.
Richelmi made an adequate start from pole but was attacked into turn one by Nasr and Evans. But none of them got away as well as Coletti from sixth place, whose remarkable getaway propelled him into the lead after taking the long way around the first corner.
Calado had another slow start from seventh place and as they approached turn four he clipped Leimer’s rear wheel under braking. Calado’s front wing went under the car and he tobogganed into Leal and Bird – eliminating both. The stewards held Calado responsible and handed him a ten-place grid penalty for Bahrain.
While Coletti and Nasr made their escape Richelmi started to struggle on his tyres in third, allowing Evans to close up. With six laps to go Richelmi locked his tyres and Evans slipped through on the inside to claim the final podium spot.
Having survived his brush with Calado, Leimer was running in a strong sixth position before an error at turn 11 dropped him out of the points.
But there were no such problems for Coletti up front however as he was able to manage his tyres to claim the win ahead of Nasr. Evans took third to claim a podium in his first GP2 weekend from tenth on the grid.
|3||Mitch Evans||Arden International||+8.358||10|
|5||Johnny Cecotto||Arden International||+15.874||12|
|7||Conor Daly||Hilmer Motorsport||+17.479||13|
|8||Rene Binder||Venezuela GP Lazarus||+23.726||11|
|10||Kevin Giovesi||Venezuela GP Lazarus||+29.020||16|
|11||Tom Dillmann||Russian Time||+30.522||14|
|12||Fabio Leimer||Racing Engineering||+30.802||8|
|14||Daniel de Jong||MP Motorsport||+32.391||23|
|15||Sergio Canamasas||Caterham Racing||+35.336||19|
|16||Daniel Abt||ART Grand Prix||+36.339||22|
|17||Adrian Quaife-Hobbs||MP Motorsport||+37.033||25*|
|18||Rio Haryanto||Barwa Addax Team||+43.468||20|
|19||Pal Varhaug||Hilmer Motorsport||+46.092||15|
|20||Jake Rosenzweig||Barwa Addax Team||+51.244||18|
|21||Nathanael Berthon||Trident Racing||+53.777||21|
|22||Kevin Ceccon||Trident Racing||+ 1 Lap||17|
|Ret||Sam Bird||Russian Time||1||2|
|Ret||Julian Leal||Racing Engineering||1||4|
|Ret||James Calado||ART Grand Prix||1||7|
|DNS||Ma Qinghua||Caterham Racing||DNS|
Fastest lap: Stefano Coletti (Rapax) ?óÔé¼ÔÇØ 1’50.253 (on lap 5)
Drivers’ championship points
With a pole position, fastest lap, win and a third place, Coletti leads the championship from Leimer by eleven points. Rapax lead the teams standings by seven points from Racing Engineering.
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Images ?é?® GP2