Davide Valsecchi jumped his rivals at the start to take the lead after the first corner of this afternoon’s sprint race in Abu Dhabi, leading all the way to the flag for his first win of the season by absorbing race long pressure from Luiz Razia and Romain Grosjean.
The Italian’s victory was set up when the lights went out: poleman Josef Kral was slightly delayed off the line, handing front row starter Razia a clear line to turn one, but the Brazilian went too deep. Valsecchi and Grosjean were side by side out of the corner and into the lead, and when Razia chopped back on track the Frenchman had nowhere to go and dropped back to third to avoid being squeezed on either side.
Behind the top three Sam Bird had made his customary sharp getaway but was quickly jumped by Dani Clos, with a fierce battle for P4 commencing between the pair ahead of Kral, Sergio Perez and Oliver Turvey: the Mexican was soon by the poleman and looking for more, making it a three way fight for fourth place.
The battle was extinguished almost as quickly as it began: two laps later Perez dived inside at a gap which wasn’t really there, colliding with Bird and putting the pair out of the race almost instantly: with teammate Giedo van der Garde picking up three drive through penalties the Addax pitwall realised that their chances of reclaiming up the team’s championship were over for the year.
Back on track there were plenty of scraps but little in the way of overtaking: Razia pushed hard as he tried to save his team’s championship (and help his own), and applied constant pressure to Valsecchi as he looked to bring home the win iSport were denied yesterday. And at the flag he held on for victory by less than a second from Razia, with Grosjean holding off a late charge from Clos, Kral claiming a few more points for fifth, and Turvey just hanging on to the final point against a spirited challenge from Brendon Hartley.
With the final race over the championship standings are set: Pastor Maldonado is the 2010 GP2 champion, Sergio Perez is the vice-champion, with Jules Bianchi hanging on for third place. In the team’s standings Razia’s podium today guaranteed Rapax their first title, pushing their way past Barwa Addax Team (who held the lead with Perez’s victory yesterday), and ART Grand Prix joining them for third place.