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Coletti wins sprint, Bird back on podium

With the battle for the lead resolved, attention turned to the fight between Luiz Razia and Sam Bird for fifth place. AirAsia had an almost identical situation to Racing Engineering: fast initial pace but no durability. As Razia started to slither all over the track, Bird picked his time and passed him with ease on the run down to turn 12 on lap 9; behind them, Bird's team mate Ericsson picked off Razia's team mate Valsecchi just a few minutes later, the Italian subsequently running wide through turn 8 with his deteriorating handling and losing more positions.

With eight laps to go, Bird had closed right up on the back of Charles Pic and looked determined to get past the French driver for third, for his second podium position of the weekend. It was a fast and furious battle - literally nose to tail and wheel to wheel - but Pic just had enough to keep Bird at bay as the laps clicked down.

And then the final laps of the race were marred by a nasty crash between Davide Rigon and Julian Leal down the start/finish straight with five laps remaining: the two had been battling out of the first corner and then tried to go double file down the straight itself. Both drivers were trying to outthink the other as to whether to take the inside or outside line, and as they jockeyed for position Leal clipped the back of Rigon's Coloni and send him into a hard sideways impact with the pit lane wall.

Leal escaped with a sideways skid but no hard impact; Rigon, on the other hand, rebounded from his hit to slide across the track and settle on the grass verge on the outside. Although he stood up in the cockpit immediately afterwards, he was gesturing for support and the medical team was scrambled and needed to spend several minutes with him, as it became clear that a part of the car's suspension had penetrated the driver safety cell and injured Rigon's foot and ankle. Rigon was dispatched to hospital for immediate surgery, with fears that multiple fractures might put him out for much of the summer racing season.

With the work to clear up the debris on the main straight, the the first and only safety car of the race was deployed for four laps and when it came in, there was just one lap to go before the chequered flag. It was no procession to the flag as far as Sam Bird was concerned. At the restart, he was hit from behind even before the start/finish line from an oddly dopey Marcus Ericsson - his own iSport team mate - that threatened to end in disaster for both drivers. Ericsson ran wide and struggled with a broken front win as he dropped out of the points to eighth, but Bird was able to shake this encounter off and keep his sights on Charles Pic ahead, finally pulling off the pass with a will-not-be-denied move down the backstraight to claim third.

Bianchi and Grosjean continued to try and come back from their first lap collision, and benefited greatly in the closing laps from the misfortunes of those teams suffering serious tyre wear like AirAsia and Racing Engineering: Bianchi narrowly missed getting back into the points and finished seventh, while Grosjean ended the race in tenth.

Rodolfo Gonzalez and Johnny Cecotto Jr. both received drive-thru penalties for jump starts, but neither were in contention for a top ten finish. On the other end of the spectrum, Michael Herck appeared to stall in his grid slot and was lucky not to be collected from behind by Valsecchi at the start, but eventually got underway and finished a creditable 12th.

Full race results are also available.




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
2011 GP2 Series. Round 1. Istanbul Park, Istanbul Turkey. 8th May. Sunday Race. Stefano Coletti (MON, Trident Racing) celebrates his victory on the podium. [Picture credit: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service.]
Jolyon Palmer (GBR, DAMS) in action at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Raffaele Marciello (ITA, Racing Engineering) in action at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Stefano Coletti (MON, Racing Engineering) in action at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Pierre Gasly (FRA, EQ8 Caterham Racing) in pit lane at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Jolyon Palmer (GBR, DAMS) crosses the line at the end of race 2 at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Jolyon Palmer (GBR, DAMS) celebrates in parc ferme after race 2 at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Jolyon Palmer (GBR, DAMS) celebrates with team mate Stephane Richelmi (MON, DAMS) celebrates after race 2 at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Jolyon Palmer (GBR, DAMS) celebrates with his father Jonathan after race 2 at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Race winner Jolyon Palmer (GBR, DAMS) & runner-up Stefano Coletti (MON, Racing Engineering) celebrate with champagne after race 2 at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Jolyon Palmer (GBR, DAMS) sprays champagne on the podium after race 2 at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Jolyon Palmer (GBR, DAMS), Stefano Coletti (MON, Racing Engineering) & Stephane Richelmi (MON, DAMS) on the podium after race 2 at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Dean Stoneman (GBR, Marussia Manor Racing) celebrates in Parc Ferme after race 2 at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Dean Stoneman (GBR, Marussia Manor Racing) heads to the podium after race 2 at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Dean Stoneman (GBR, Marussia Manor Racing) on the podium after race 2 at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Dean Stoneman (GBR, Marussia Manor Racing) on the podium after race 2 at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Dean Stoneman (GBR, Marussia Manor Racing), Alex Lynn (GBR, Carlin), and Marvin Kirchhofer (GER, ART Grand Prix) on the podium after race 2 at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Jimmy Eriksson (SWE, Koiranen GP) during practice at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. 6th September. Friday 5 September 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)

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