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Gutierrez wins after Leimer nightmare

"If the safety car had been called 10 seconds earlier, there would have been no problem at all, but just like that my race was over as all others had the chance to do their mandatory pit stop," he added. "I had no possibility to react anymore. This was a strange decision as a safety car is usually deployed when it is the best to do so.

He had missed his final chance to duck into pit lane for his mandatory pit stop, while Johnny Cecotto Jr. was able to do exactly that, and return to the track in second place between Gutiérrez and Palmer. If Leimer was looking to pull out another big lead when the race went back to green flag conditions before he had to pit, that plan was also thwarted by the rapid return of the safety car: Stefano Colletti had gone for a gamble on slicks, but he soon found that this was a terrible choice when he promptly spun out at Bridge

There was now less than ten minutes remaining on the clock, and Leimer's hand was forced. He crawled into the pits for his mandatory stop, and when he emerged back on track the runaway race leader found himself in a dismal 18th position, the day ruined by the pit stop strategy fumble. Gutiérrez had inherited the lead ahead of Cecotto and Palmer, with Melker now an impressive fourth place ahead of Razia and Nasr.

"There were not many laps left after this, so, even though I pushed, there was little more I could do," said a deeply disappointed Leimer of the lost race win opportunity.

With conditions improving all the time, there were no more incidents once the track went green with only three minutes left to run, and Gutiérrez duly led the remaining distance to the green flag.

"Strategy played a big role in this race," admitted the young Mexican, who has now won two races in a row. "I'm really happy and grateful for this victory," he added.

Further back, Giedo van der Garde found himself in eighth place at just the right time to pick up the pole position for Sunday's sprint race under reversed grid conditions. Starting alongside him will be championship leader, after that early pit stop call by DAMS had salvaged a race that had begun with a back row start for the Italian following his fuel load infringement in Friday qualifying.

After the race, Daniël de Jong was handed a ten-place grid penalty for Sunday for his collision with Gonzalez, and Fabio Onidi had 30s added to his time after the race for overtaking under safety car conditions, which dropped him down to 22nd place in the results.

Full feature race results available.




Related Pictures

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Esteban Gutierrez (MEX, Lotus GP) celebrates his feature race victory at Silverstone. (Photo Credit: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service.)
Esteban Gutierrez (MEX, Lotus GP) celebrates his feature race victory at Silverstone. (Photo Credit: Alastair Staley/GP2 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. Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix) Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 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.
2015 GP2 Series Round 11. Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE. Saturday 28 November 2015. Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix), Raffaele Marciello (ITA, Trident) & Mitch Evans (NZL, RUSSIAN TIME) Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.
2015 GP2 Series Round 11. Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE. Saturday 28 November 2015. Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix) Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.
2015 GP2 Series Round 11. Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE. Saturday 28 November 2015. Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix) Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.
2015 GP2 Series Round 11. Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE. Saturday 28 November 2015. Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix) Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.
015 GP2 Series Round 11. Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE. Saturday 28 November 2015. Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix) Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.
2015 GP3 Series Round 9 Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE. Saturday 28 November 2015. Esteban Ocon (FRA, ART Grand Prix) leads Kevin Ceccon (ITA, Arden International) & Marvin Kirchhofer (GER, ART Grand Prix) at the start Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.
2015 GP3 Series Round 9. Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Friday 27 November 2015. Esteban Ocon (FRA, ART Grand Prix), celebrates pole position with his dad. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.
2015 GP3 Series Round 9 Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE. Friday 27 November 2015. Antonio Fuoco (ITA, Carlin) & Esteban Ocon (FRA, ART Grand Prix) Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.

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