But Calado’s lead came to nothing when he was the only front-runner not to have pitted when the first of three Safety Cars was deployed. Esteban had pitted, and was able to strengthen his claim on the win over the course of the next two deployments, pushing P2 Fabio Leimer wide on the final restart.
Race 2 saw Gutierrez out at the second corner and Calado on course for a lights-to-flag win until the mid-point, when Rio Haryanto overtook the Lotus driver for a single corner. On lap 20, Haryanto attempted another pass down the inside, made contact with Calado, and took himself out of the race in the process.
There was more drama on the last lap when Luis Razia took advantage of his healthier rubber to slip past the race leader with only seven corners to go. Calado had spent the closing laps of the race dueling with an advancing Fabio Leimer, and the battle enabled Razia to catch and then pass the pair.
Lotus GP now leads the team standings on 182 points, 13 points ahead of DAMS on 169.
James Calado: “The race was exciting and horrible at the same time, because I knew it was going to be a struggle to keep the position because I had no tyres left. I started on my Race 2 tyres yesterday, so they’d already done five or six laps when I went out.
So even though I was looking after them, I physically didn’t have any rubber left and there were just too many laps for the tyres to last for that long. It was a struggle, and there was an incident between me and Haryanto.
I think, looking at the footage, that I left him enough room. He locked his rear brakes and just lost control and crashed into me, and I didn’t turn into the corner. It’s under investigation at the moment, but hopefully it’ll be okay. From then onwards it was just a scrap between me and Fabio [Leimer] and the scrap allowed Luis [Razia] to catch me up. He had more traction, and when he came out of the last corner he got it.
Even so, we scored some good points. Shame about yesterday – I’m still gutted about that. But we’re in a good place in the championship. Silverstone’s a good one for me, as I’ve done thousands and thousands of laps there, so we’ll see.”
Esteban Gutierrez: “In Race 1 it was important to have a strategy where we could gain some positions. In the end, especially with the Safety Cars, we were in a very good position with the tyres and I could use the extra grip to push and overtake the guys in front.
I am very grateful to the team, because of all the support they have given me. I have been doing my best, but the first few races were not very easy for us.
No worries about Race 2. It’s part of racing, it’s what happens sometimes at the start. We made a good start and we were already in a decent position. Then at the second corner one of the guys in front touched the wall and crashed into it and I had not much of an option – it was really difficult to avoid. In the end we’ll move forward. We’ve had a good weekend as a team, and we need to use this energy to continue fighting at the next race.”