Reigning Formula Renault 3.5 champion Robin Frijns gave Hilmer Motorsport its first GP2 Series victory in the Barcelona feature race, making it the second race in succession that a new-for-2013 team has won.
Frijns and his team executed a perfect race strategy, switching from the soft tires to the hard compound at the first opportunity on lap six.
Thanks to a fast stop, this gave him track position over everyone save for polesitter and early leader, Marcus Ericsson of DAMS. But when the front-runners tripped over cars on the divergent strategy of a long first stint on the hard tire, Frijns grabbed the virtual lead as Ericsson collided with Sam Bird's Russian Time car. Ericsson was forced to retire as a result of the damage.
Frijns then did a perfect job of managing his tires and the traffic, and kept his cool when second place Jolyon Palmer got to within 0.7 second of him with 10 laps remaining.
In the final laps, Frijns proved he had pace to burn, extending an eventual 3.3sec margin of victory over Felipe Nasr, who bounced back from a terrible start to finish second after passing Carlin teammate Palmer, with contact, at Turn 3 with four laps to go.
Palmer hung on to finish third after what he admitted was "a crazy race", but is under investigation from stewards for pushing Bird onto the grass exiting Turn 4, which caused Bird to spin into retirement during the frantic battle.
Series returnee Jon Lancaster made it a double celebration for Hilmer with fourth place, ahead of points leader Stefano Coletti and Tom Dillmann.
Dillmann went for a hard/hard-tire strategy, and could have finished on the podium but for running wide at Turn 3 on the final lap. He earlier escaped when Nathanael Berthon flew over the back of his car and Sergio Canamasas at Turn 10.
Championship front-runner Fabio Leimer had a disastrous race, finishing 18th after being forced to pit for a new front wing after a startline clash with James Calado, which put the Briton out on the opening lap.
To compound a miserable race for DAMS, following the reigning champion team's front-row lockout, Stephane Richelmi trailed home 15th after a drive-through penalty for punting Dillmann into a spin at Turn 4.
Results - 37 laps:
Pos Driver Team Time/Gap
1. Robin Frijns Hilmer 1h00m38.896s
2. Felipe Nasr Carlin + 3.316s
3. Jolyon Palmer Carlin + 12.290s
4. Jon Lancaster Hilmer + 12.609s
5. Stefano Coletti Rapax + 13.329s
6. Tom Dillmann Russian Time + 14.325s
7. Alexander Rossi Caterham + 17.160s
8. Kevin Ceccon Trident + 17.504s
9. Johnny Cecotto Jr Arden + 24.013s
10. Rio Haryanto Addax + 32.024s
11. Daniel Abt ART + 32.823s
12. Mitch Evans Arden + 35.748s
13. Julian Leal Racing Engineering + 39.922s
14. Jake Rosenzweig Addax + 40.999s
15. Stefano Richelmi DAMS + 42.690s
16. Daniel de Jong MP Motorsport + 43.102s
17. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs MP Motorsport + 54.532s
18. Fabio Leimer Racing Engineering + 56.946s
19. Simon Trummer Rapax + 57.935s
20. Rene Binder Lazarus + 1 lap
21. Sam Bird Russian Time + 4 laps
Driver Team Laps
Kevin Giovesi Lazarus 11
Marcus Ericsson DAMS 10
Sergio Canamasas Caterham 5
Nathanael Berthon Trident 4
James Calado ART 1