Photo: Alastair Staley/GP2 Series Media Service
Sam Bird held off a late charge from Felipe Nasr to win the GP2 sprint race in Sakhir by the narrowest of margins.
Bird?s Russian Time teammate Tom Dillmann led the field away from the reverse grid pole position, but Bird moved the lead down the inside of the final turn.
Stefano Coletti and Felipe Nasr then passed Dillmann on laps two and three respectively, but the leading positions then remained static for much of the race with little in the way of excitement.
That was until a few laps from the end, when some drivers began to really struggle to keep the life in their tyres. Having had a few seconds between them, the front three closed right up.
Coletti suffered a big lock-up at the final corner, running wide off the track and letting Nasr up into second with a lap remaining. The Brazilian quickly reeled in Bird and was close enough to pass, but the British driver held a defensive line through the final corner and managed to just stay ahead, taking the chequered flag with a margin of just 0.08 seconds and giving his new team its first win at just its second race weekend.
Coletti had a couple more wild moments on the final lap but had enough to margin to take third and maintain his 100 per cent record of podium finishes so far in 2013.
Dillmann was a quiet fourth, in front of another battle that ignited in the closing stages. After starting on the front row, Adrian Quaife-Hobbs held fifth from lap two, but was struggling badly for speed at the end.
James Calado meanwhile had kept the life in his tyres back in eighth, and surged past Fabio Leimer, Jolyon Palmer and Quaife-Hobbs in the final laps. He?d earlier gone from 12th to seventh on the opening lap, before dropping back behind Palmer, and his fifth place meant he salvaged some points from an otherwise torrid weekend.
Palmer and Daniel Abt also managed to get by Quaife-Hobbs on the last lap, but the MP Motorsport just managed to hold on to the final point ahead of Leimer and Kevin Ceccon.
Leimer?s second sprint race no-score in a row means he has a ten-point deficit to championship leader Coletti. Nasr ? who?s finishing all four races in the top four ? is only six points further back in third.
|1||Sam Bird||Russian Time||23 laps in 41:08.133|
|4||Tom Dillmann||Russian Time||+10.328|
|5||James Calado||ART Grand Prix||+19.713|
|7||Daniel Abt||ART Grand Prix||+24.108|
|8||Adrian Quaife-Hobbs||MP Motorsport||+27.722|
|9||Fabio Leimer||Racing Engineering||+27.894|
|10||Kevin Ceccon||Trident Racing||+27.997|
|11||Sergio Canamasas||Caterham Racing||+28.601|
|12||Johnny Cecotto||Arden International||+35.477|
|15||Mitch Evans||Arden International||+36.950|
|16||Julian Leal||Racing Engineering||+37.671|
|17||Kevin Giovesi||Venezuela GP Lazarus||+41.248|
|18||Daniel De Jong||MP Motorsport||+44.757|
|19||Jake Rosenzweig||Barwa Addax Team||+47.006|
|20||Alexander Rossi||Caterham Racing||+52.044|
|21||Pal Varhaug||Hilmer Motorsport||+54.740|
|22||Nathana?l Berthon||Trident Racing||+55.332|
|23||Robin Frijns||Hilmer Motorsport||+62.964|
|24||Rio Haryanto||Barwa Addax Team||+77.388|
|25||Rene Binder||Venezuela GP Lazarus||+1 lap|
|Marcus Ericsson||DAMS||5 laps|