Jules Bianchi came out on top in a thrilling scrap with Christian Vietoris to take his first GP2 win of the season at Silverstone.
ART driver Bianchi cruised into a comfortable lead once the race got underway in wet conditions after three laps behind the safety car. His lead was over seven seconds when the pitstops got underway, with drivers coming in to change onto slick tires as the track dried rapidly.
Bianchi was one of the last to pit, and that meant that Racing Engineering's Vietoris - who had passed Alvaro Parente (Carlin) for second before the stops - was right on the Frenchman's gearbox as he rejoined.
After one lap spent all over the back of Bianchi, Vietoris took the lead on the exit of Luffield. However, it was short-lived as Bianchi re-took the place with a bold move into Copse. The pair repeated their wheel-to-wheel antics later in the same lap, with Vietoris taking the lead around the outside into Stowe, only for Bianchi to lunge up the inside to regain it on the brakes for the following corner.
After that breathtaking lap the pair ran in tandem, and a handful of laps later Bianchi had the lead out to over a second. He eased away from there, before slowing towards the end on his way to victory.
Vietoris was struggling for pace by the end, meaning he finished just ahead of iSport's Marcus Ericsson and championship leader Romain Grosjean (DAMS). Ericsson had been fifth early in the race, but he reaped the rewards for being the first driver to switch to slicks.
Grosjean picked his way through from 13th to take fourth, while Sam Bird (iSport) overcame an off at Copse just before his stop to take fifth place. Dani Clos had to settle for sixth in the second Racing Engineering car after losing out to the charging Briton just six laps from home.
Stefano Coletti benefited from pitting on the same lap as Ericsson as he charged from 21st to seventh, while title hopeful Giedo van der Garde (Addax) just held off a recovering Parente to take eighth and pole position for race two.