Singapore GP2: Davide Valsecchi clinches championship as Max Chilton wins

Carlin's Max Chilton won the first-ever GP2 feature race at Singapore's Marina Bay circuit, as Davide Valsecchi was confirmed as 2012 champion by finishing fourth

Singapore GP2: Davide Valsecchi clinches championship as Max Chilton wins

Chilton grabbed the lead from the start, while poleman Luca Filippi (Coloni) bogged down badly and dropped to seventh.

Lotus's Esteban Gutierrez hassled Chilton through Turn 5 on the opening lap, but that left him prone to attack from behind by Fabio Leimer (Racing Engineering), although Gutierrez fended him off.

Jolyon Palmer (iSport) then grabbed third from Leimer, just before the safety car was required for a combination of first-lap accidents at the back of the field, the main offender being Rene Binder's stranded car.

At the restart, Chilton opened out a handy gap over Gutierrez and managed his advantage from there. They both pitted on lap nine, mirroring strategies of starting on the soft tyre, and then changing the rears to a fresh pair of softs.

Battle resumed after the stops, with Filippi coming back into the frame having pitted at the first opportunity on lap six. However, that strategy came back to haunt him, as Filippi's laptimes dropped off by up to 6s as his tyres went off.

Leimer, the first of the runners who started on the super soft tyre, jumped past him to finish third.

The race effectively ended under a safety car (although it did come in on the final lap) after Filippi crashed heavily at the final corner soon after making a second pitstop for new tyres. He had been into the tyre wall earlier that lap, damaging his front wing at the turn beneath the grandstand, and it appears to have come off and wedged under his car, causing him to crash at high speed.

At the front, it was status quo as Chilton had an answer for every challenge Gutierrez threw his way - and his victory never looked truly under threat at any point.

"It was a bit of a dream weekend to win like that, along with the announcement I had earlier this week," said Chilton, who is to be Marussia's reserve Formula 1 driver. "It wasn't easy, but it was the right time of the year for that win to come."

Gutierrez added: "It was a very interesting race, the tyres were very challenging to manage. I tried to pass Max at Turn 5 on the first lap, and he closed the door a little bit. I ran out of laps in the end."

Valsecchi's fourth place, ahead of title rival Luiz Razia, was more than enough to crown him as champion for DAMS. They ran nose-to-tail after Valsecchi was held up by the struggling Filippi, but he always had a pace advantage over Razia, who is confirmed as series runner-up.

Valsecchi's team-mate Felipe Nasr charged to sixth from 13th, ahead of Marcus Ericsson, with Giedo van der Garde finishing eighth to gain reversed-grid pole.

Gutierrez takes third in the championship from team-mate James Calado, who was in the thick of the battle for the bottom end of the points despite feeling unwell, until his tyres went off and he called it quits with a couple of laps to go. Fellow Briton Palmer also retired when running in sixth place.

Results - 28 laps:

Pos  Driver               Team                    Time/Gap
 1.  Max Chilton          Carlin              1h01m48.095s
 2.  Esteban Gutierrez    Lotus                   + 1.363s
 3.  Fabio Leimer         Racing Engineering      + 4.894s
 4.  Davide Valsecchi     DAMS                    + 5.945s
 5.  Luiz Razia           Arden                   + 6.295s
 6.  Felipe Nasr          DAMS                    + 8.798s
 7.  Marcus Ericsson      iSport                 + 14.229s
 8.  Giedo van der Garde  Caterham               + 15.147s
 9.  Rio Haryanto         Carlin                 + 48.855s
10.  Nathanael Berthon    Racing Engineering     + 49.445s
11.  Julian Leal          Trident                + 51.466s
12.  Nigel Melker         Ocean                  + 52.099s
13.  Stefano Coletti      Rapax                  + 52.839s
14.  Stephane Richelmi    Trident              + 1m04.038s
15.  Jake Rosenzweig      Addax                + 1m04.314s
16.  Sergio Canamasas     Lazarus              + 1m04.378s
17.  Ricardo Teixeira     Rapax                + 1m05.013s

Retirements:

     Luca Filippi         Coloni                   24 laps
     Fabio Onidi          Coloni                   24 laps
     James Calado         Lotus                    23 laps
     Jolyon Palmer        iSport                   19 laps
     Johnny Cecotto Jr    Addax                     9 laps
     Rodolfo Gonzalez     Caterham                  7 laps
     Simon Trummer        Arden                     5 laps
     Rene Binder          Lazarus                   0 laps
     Victor Guerin        Ocean                     0 laps
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Singapore GP2: Luca Filippi takes pole, Davide Valsecchi beats Luiz Razia
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