Calado wins Sepang sprint race

Calado wins sprint race


The British driver started from pole position on the reversed grid and went on to dominate from once again. He was chased home by his Lotus team-mate Esteban Gutierrez.

The closest Gutierrez got to him (besides almost hitting him on the warm-up lap at the final corner while practicing a start) was under braking for Turn 1, but Calado held both his nerve and the lead. Behind the Lotus cars, Felipe Nasr kept third for DAMS, ahead of Coloni's Stefano Coletti and Racing Engineering's Fabio Leimer.

The opening lap was a barnstormer, as Coletti nipped past Nasr at Turn 4, getting ahead for only a corner before running wide and dropping to sixth. Caterham's Giedo van deer Garde passed Leimer to snatch fourth while feature race winner Luiz Razia overtook Davide Valsecchi, the Arden driver overhauling the DAMS man for seventh.

Valsecchi then came under attack from Carlin's Max Chilton and Lazarus driver Fabrizio Crestani, the latter hitting his Italian compatriot at Turn 1 on the second lap and receiving a drive-through penalty for his error.

The race settled down with Calado managing the gap expertly ahead of Gutierrez, the two black and gold machines circulating up front with Andretti/Peterson-like synchronicity.

The next real action unfolded on lap 14, when Valsecchi attacked Razia in the battle for seventh. Saturday's top two entered Turn 1 side-by-side, and although Valsecchi lunged past at Turn 4, he ran wide, allowing Razia and Chilton through.

Marcus Ericsson also tried to nip past in his iSport car, but made contact with Valsecchi's left-rear wheel at the apex of the ultra-fast Turn 5, flipping the Italian onto his rollhoop. Valsecchi's car slid upside-down into the gravel, coming to rest back on his wheels. The Italian was dazed but unhurt.

As Calado rattled off the laps to score a perfectly-judged victory by two seconds over Gutierrez and take the first points-paying win for ART since its rebranding as Lotus, the battle of the final laps concerned Coletti, who slipped back as his car lost pace. First Razia, then Chilton passed him, and he ultimately gave up the ghost and retired in the pits.

The final pass for a major position came on the penultimate lap, as Razia pulled a sublime move on Leimer for fifth at the final turn, and closed to within 0.6s of van der Garde, who limped home some 7.4s behind third-placed Nasr.

Razia continues to lead the points, opening up a healthy seven-point margin over non-finisher Valsecchi. Calado moves up to third ahead of Gutierrez and Valsecchi.

Sprint race results:

1. James Calado Lotus GP

2. Esteban Gutierrez Lotus GP

3. Felipe Nasr DAMS

4. Giedo van der Garde Caterham Racing

5. Luiz Razia Arden International

6. Fabio Leimer Racing Engineering

7. Max Chilton Carlin

8. Nathanael Berthon Racing Engineering

9. Josef Kral Barwa Addax Team

10. Rio Haryanto Carlin

11. Tom Dillmann Rapax

12. Jolyon Palmer iSport International

13. Fabio Onidi Scuderia Coloni

14. Nigel Melker Ocean Racing Technology

15. Julian Leal Trident Racing

16. Simon Trummer Arden International

17. Jon Lancaster Ocean Racing Technology

18. Rodolfo Gonzalez Caterham Racing

19. Stephane Richelmi Trident Racing

20. Giancarlo Serenelli Venezuela GP Lazarus

21. Fabrizio Crestani Venezuela GP Lazarus

22. Johnny Cecotto Barwa Addax Team

23. Stefano Coletti Scuderia Coloni

24. Ricardo Teixeira Rapax

Not Classified:

Davide Valsecchi DAMS

Marcus Ericsson iSport International

Fastest lap : Fabrizio Crestani (Venezuela GP Lazarus) – 1:50.690 on lap 8

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