Motor racing-Switzerland's Leimer wins GP2 title

Reuters

* Russian teenager Kvyat takes GP3 title

* Dane Magnussen wins Formula Renault crown (Adds Whitmarsh comments, Kvyat winning GP3 title)

ABU DHABI, Nov 2 (Reuters) - Switzerland's Fabio Leimer won the GP2 title, which has served as a stepping stone to Formula One for a crop of drivers in the past, at the fourth attempt on Saturday.

Grand Prix regulars Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Romain Grosjean, Nico Hulkenberg and Pastor Maldonado won the series on their way up but Formula One's fresh talent has looked more likely to emerge from elsewhere this year.

Russian teenager Daniil Kvyat, signed by Toro Rosso for next season, won the GP3 title - one step down - while Denmark's Kevin Magnussen is backed by McLaren and tipped for the top after taking the Formula Renault 3.5 world series crown.

Leimer, 24, does not appear to be on the radar of any F1 teams after four seasons in GP2 and a test with Sauber in 2011, but his main rival Sam Bird of Britain has been a paddock regular as reserve for Mercedes.

"There's nothing wrong with GP2...but I think the quality of the field recently in world series has been far beyond that of GP2," said McLaren principal Martin Whitmarsh.

"I'm sure he (Leimer) has done a good job, I believe he's been doing it for four years to get here and a few Asian series and a lot of others. So it's quite an expensive bit of progress."

Whitmarsh said the merits of GP2 were sharing the same circuits as Formula One and using similar tyres but it has become difficult for a rookie to win.

"But I do think a good quality rookie will and can win it and that's what I'm hoping is going to happen next year."

Whitmarsh hinted heavily that McLaren-backed Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne, runner-up to Magnussen this season, will enter the series in 2014. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by Ed Osmond/Rex Gowar)

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