Vitaly Petrov capitalized on a mistake by pole-sitter Nico Hulkenberg to win today's GP2 Series feature race in Valencia, and took a small bite out of the German's championship lead in the process.
Hulkenberg initially made a good start but then went wide at Turn 2, allowing Petrov and Sergio Perez to get past. He was able to reclaim second from Perez fairly quickly, but Petrov proved a tougher challenge.
The ART driver's best chance came in the spell immediately after the pit stops when he appeared to have stronger pace, but a couple of brave lunges at the final corner came to nothing.
The gap see-sawed by as much as two seconds over the final half of the race, but Hulkenberg was never able to get quite close enough to have a genuine shot and the Russian crossed the line 0.3 second ahead.
Nobody else was close to the pace of the leading duo, with third-placed Sergio Perez more than 15 seconds down the road at the finish, but the Arden rookie still performed well and his first main series podium was a deserved reward.
A string of assorted dramas shuffled the lower points positions late in the race, but fourth-placed Alvaro Parente and fifth-placed Roldan Rodriguez had been in the mix for the entire afternoon.
Edoardo Mortara finished sixth ahead of Luca Filippi, with Pastor Maldonado taking the final point and pole for tomorrow's sprint race.
Among the less fortunate was Davide Valsecchi, who was on target for eighth for most of the race before dropping three places in the last couple of laps.
Lucas di Grassi had run as high as fourth before slowing and retiring with two laps remaining, and Karun Chandhok spent most of the afternoon trying to overtake Valsecchi, only to pull off the track and out of the race just moments after he'd finally done so.
It was also a difficult day for series newcomer Stefano Coletti, who endured a drive-through penalty for jumping the start and another for crossing the white line at the pit exit before retiring at mid-distance.
Also feeling the wrath of the stewards was Hungary sprint race winner Giedo van der Garde (jumping the start), Franck Perera (push start) and Davide Rigon (speeding in pitlane).