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Valsecchi wins sprint after late penalty for Leimer

"The start was pretty good," was a major understatement from the British rookie. "But we had some mechanical issues with the cars because my right hand corners I am terrible and when I'm left I'm fine. It felt like my front left wing was in the air. I could not accelerate.

"It was disappointing to drop back, but I put up a fight with Esteban to see if I had one chance," he said. "But I realised that my pace was slow so I let Valsecchi past because there is no point racing a really slow car."

It hadn't just been race winner Valsecchi who had benefited from looking after his tyres early on in order to make a surge forward in the latter stages of the race. His DAMS team mate Felipe Nasr's starting grid stall had caused that initial repeat formation lap, and by the middle of the race he had still been labouring in the midfield around 15th place. But in the final half dozen laps it was as if someone had strapped a jet pack with afterburners onto the back of Nasr's car, and when the final classifications showed that he'd made it up to sixth place there were an awful lot of people up and down pit lane doing comedy double-takes and rubbing their eyes in disbelief.

Stephane Richelmi failed to complete a lap in the race, after being caught up in an untidy clattering of midfield cars at the first corner. Brendon Hartley's front wing was also damaged in the incident, and after it started to break up on lap 2 the late-notice Ocean Racing Technology stand-in driver also decided to call it a day and headed for the pits. Other retirements included Nathanael Berthon, while Stefano Coletti tumbled two laps off the lead with a rear left wheel problem. Johnny Cecotto Jr. also finished off the lead lap, after being hit early on by a drive-thru penalty for a jump start.

Full race results for Sunday's Bahrain sprint race are available.




Related Pictures

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James Calado (GBR, Lotus GP) leads Fabio Leimer (SUI, Racing Engineering), Max Chilton (GBR, Carlin) and the rest of the field into turn one on the opening lap of the Sunday sprint race at Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain. 22nd April. [World Copyright: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service.]
Davide Valsecchi (ITA, Dams) celebrates his victory in the Sunday sprint race at Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain. 22nd April. [World Copyright: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service.]
Davide Valsecchi (ITA, Dams) crosses the line to take victory closely followed by Esteban Gutierrez (MEX, Lotus GP) at the end of the Sunday sprint race at Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain. 22nd April. [World Copyright: Andrew Ferraro/GP2 Media Service.]
Alex Lynn - DAMS
Alex Lynn - DAMS
Jake Hughes - DAMS [credit: GP3 Series]
Jake Hughes - DAMS [credit: GP3 Series]
Jakes Hughes, DAMS, GP3 [Credit: Jake Hughes PR]
2015 GP2 Series Test 3. Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Wednesday 2 December 2015. Nicholas Latifi (CAN, DAMS) Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.
2015 GP2 Series Test 3. Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Thursday 3 December 2015. Nicholas Latifi (CAN, DAMS) Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.
2015 GP2 Series Test 3. Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Thursday 3 December 2015. Nicholas Latifi (CAN, DAMS). Photo: Zak Mauger/GP2 Series Media Service.
2015 GP2 Series Round 11. Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Sunday 29 November 2015. The red flag caused by the crash involving Pierre Gasly (FRA, DAMS), Norman Nato (FRA, Arden International), Nicolas Latifi (CAN, MP Motorsport), Daniel de Jong (NLD, Trident), Sean Gelael (INA, Carlin). Photo: Zak Mauger/GP2 Series Media Service.
2015 GP3 Series Round 9. Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Sunday 29 November 2015. Esteban Ocon (FRA, ART Grand Prix) Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.
2015 GP3 Series Round 9. Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Sunday 29 November 2015. Alex Palou (ESP, Campos Racing), Antonio Fuoco (ITA, Carlin) and Esteban Ocon (FRA, ART Grand Prix) Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.
2015 GP3 Series Round 9. Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Sunday 29 November 2015. Esteban Ocon (FRA, ART Grand Prix) Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.
2015 GP3 Series Round 9. Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Sunday 29 November 2015. Esteban Ocon (FRA, ART Grand Prix), third position, and his team celebrate winning the championship. Photo: Zak Mauger/GP3 Series Media Service.
2015 GP2 Series Round 11. Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE. Saturday 28 November 2015. Pierre Gasly (FRA, DAMS), leads Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix) & Mitch Evans (NZL, RUSSIAN TIME) at the start Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.
2015 GP2 Series Round 11. Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Saturday 28 November 2015. Pierre Gasly (FRA, DAMS) leads Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix), Mitch Evans (NZL, RUSSIAN TIME), Alex Lynn (GBR, DAMS) and the rest of the field at the start of the race. Photo: Zak Mauger/GP2 Series Media Service.

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