Luiz Razia opened his fourth GP2 season with a race victory in Malaysia, as a slow start left Sepang polesitter Davide Valsecchi to settle for second. Brazilian driver Razia's win was his first since the 2009 Monza sprint race, and his Arden team's first triumph since the 2010 series opener.
Razia led from the outset after Valsecchi (DAMS) got away slowly from pole and slipped to fourth behind Racing Engineering's Fabio Leimer and Coloni's Stefano Coletti.
It did not take long for Valsecchi to make progress, as he benefited from Coletti running wide on lap five, then put a bold move on Leimer into Turn 1 next time around.
But catching Razia proved harder. Although there was a spell going into the final third of the race when Valsecchi was lapping up to a second faster than his 2011 AirAsia teammate in the race lead, the gap stabilized at five seconds and ultimately Razia managed to edge away again.
Max Chilton climbed to third in the pit stops and then held off Leimer to give Carlin its first GP2 podium. Close behind, Coletti beat leading rookie Felipe Nasr (DAMS) to sixth, as Lotus' Esteban Gutierrez recovered well from his difficult qualifying day to come through to seventh.
Eighth place and reverse grid pole went to Gutierrez's Lotus team-mate Calado, who won a late battle with slow-starter Giedo van der Garde (Caterham). Fabrizio Crestani completed the top 10 for Lazarus on its GP2 debut, fending off a charging Nathanael Berthon (Racing Engineering).
Top 10 qualifier Jolyon Palmer stalled his iSport car on the grid, as did Rapax's Tom Dillmann, prompted an extra formation lap and leaving Palmer only 17th at the finish.
Results - 30 laps:
Pos Driver Team Gap
1. Luiz Razia Arden
2. Davide Valsecchi DAMS + 7.8s
3. Max Chilton Carlin + 27.3s
4. Fabio Leimer Racing Engineering + 28.2s
5. Stefano Coletti Coloni + 32.2s
6. Felipe Nasr DAMS + 33.3s
7. Esteban Gutierrez Lotus + 33.6s
8. James Calado Lotus + 36.4s
9. Giedo van der Garde Caterham + 41.5s
10. Fabrizio Crestani Lazarus + 43.2s
11. Nathanael Berthon Racing Engineering + 43.7s
12. Rio Haryanto Carlin + 53.3s
13. Marcus Ericsson iSport + 1m01.6s
14. Josef Kral Addax + 1m02.6s
15. Julian Leal Trident + 1m09.1s
16. Nigel Melker Ocean + 1m10.3s
17. Jolyon Palmer iSport + 1m12.8s
18. Stephane Richelmi Trident + 1m15.2s
19. Tom Dillmann Rapax + 1m27.8s
20. Fabio Onidi Coloni + 1m39.1s
21. Simon Trummer Arden + 1m39.6s
22. Ricardo Teixeira Rapax + 1 lap
23. Giancarlo Serenelli Lazarus + 1 lap
Did not finish:
Rodolfo Gonzalez Caterham 13 laps
Johnny Cecotto Jr Addax 7 laps
Jon Lancaster Ocean 1 lap