James Calado took the final GP2 victory of the season in the Sprint Race in Abu Dhabi
British driver ends disappointing campaign on a high
By William Esler
Last Updated: 03/11/13 11:48am
A rocket start from the ART driver saw him split frontrow men Johnny Cecotto and Felipe Nasr and lead into turn one and despite two safety cars, the Brit held on to finish what has been a disappointing campaign on a high.
Nasr had been told by the team to take it easy even if Calado got past as he held a 12-point advantage over him in the drivers' standings, whilst Carlin themselves needed points for the Teams' Championship.
However, the Brazilian failed to take notice of that advice and collided with the Arden driver, spinning the Venezuelan out of the race. Nasr pitted for a new front-wing which dropped him to the back of the field and was then forced back to the pits to serve a drive-through penalty, eventually finishing the race in 18th place.
That contact allowed Dani Clos and Fabio Leimer past and they went wheel-to-wheel through turns five, six and seven as they fought over second, with Daniel Abt on the gearbox of the Racing Engineering car.
Behind the German was Sam Bird who had made a lightning start from tenth on the grid to run fifth after the first couple of corners, and after the first safety car he easily dispatched Abt to take fourth. A quick check on the radio with the team confirmed that that position would be enough to take the title from Carlin and the Mercedes Development Driver held the spot to the chequered flag, despite describing the car as "very difficult to drive".
For Carlin, the season ended on a rather sour note with Nasr's first lap misdemeanour putting him out of contention and Jolyon Palmer forced to retire with a rear-left puncture with just six laps remaining.
In the final laps, Clos edged away from newly-crowned Champion Leimer to take the fight to Calado, but the Force India reserve driver had just enough life left in his tyres to hold on for victory.
GP2 Abu Dhabi - Sprint Race
1) James Calado (GBR) - ART Grand Prix - 44:04.124
2) Dani Clos (GER) - MP Motorsport - +0.787
3) Fabio Leimer (SUI) - Racing Engineering - +4.965
4) Sam Bird (GBR) - RUSSIAN TIME - +9.440
5) Daniel Abt (GER) - ART Grand Prix - +9.957
6) Marcus Ericsson (SWE) - DAMS - +11.981
7) Simon Trummer (SUI) - Rapax - +13.188
8) Sergio Canamasas (ESP) - Caterham Racing - +16.432
9) Stefano Coletti (MON) - Rapax - +18.117
10) Julian Leal (VEN) - Racing Engineering - +18.487
18) Felipe Nasr (BRA) - Carlin - +40.271
21) Adrian Quiafe-Hobbs - Hilmer Motorsport - +3 laps
Palmer (GBR) - Carlin - Not Classified
Jon Lancaster (GBR) - Hilmer Motorsport - Not Classified
1) Fabio Leimer - 201
2) Sam Bird - 181
3) James Calado - 157
4) Felipe Nasr - 154
5) Stefano Coletti - 135
6) Marcus Ericsson - 121
7) Jolyon Palmer - 119
8) Stephane Richelmi - 103
9) Alexander Rossi - 92
10) Tom Dillmann - 92