Overall the new GP2/11 Dallara chassis performed extremely well for a brand new piece of equipment, although Esteban Gutierrez retired his Lotus ART in the pits after 18 laps, and Oliver Turvey's Ocean Racing car found itself stuck in gear in the final laps which meant he crawled round and dropped off the lead lap.
Otherwise it was a disappointing race in terms of overtaking, the shorter configuration circuit at Abu Dhabi not offering sufficient long straights to allow the cars to get a real advantage over their rivals. Turvey and Sam Bird had early success overtaking Nathanael Berthon, and Marcus Ericsson pulled off a successful move on a strangely acquiescent van der Garde on the final lap to steal fourth place, but other overtaking moves ended in frustration: Michael Herck was involved in two incidents that saw other drivers (Johnny Cecotto Jr and Jolyon Palmer) tipped into spins, while Fairuz Fauzy ended up punting Julian Leal off the track on lap 19 in a contact that left his own Super Nova Racing car limping to retirement by the side of the track shortly afterwards.
In a final lap attempt to steal eighth place from Stefano Coletti - which would put him on pole position for the sprint race under the reverse grid system - Max Chilton made a strong push in one of the final corners only to find that the Trident driver had the line covered: Chilton was forced completely off the track and cut the chicane to avoid contact, and in doing so popped up in front of Coletti after all. Chilton was duly credited with eighth on the timesheets, but there was little prospect that he would be allowed to keep it once the stewards got to work and reviewed the move: he was handed a 20s penalty which dropped him to 12th place and handed the sprint race pole back to Coletti.
At the chequered flag, Bianchi had done more than enough to keep Grosjean under control and indeed in the final laps had put in a burst of speed to claim the bonus for fastest lap, just to show that things weren't as close as they looked on track and that he was driving well within himself the entire time.