Title rivals Luiz Razia and Davide Valsecchi finished first and second in the GP2 sprint race at Silverstone on Sunday after some thrilling on-track battles, with Razia now heading the points with five rounds remaining.
Arden driver Razia's 5.6-second winning margin did not reflect how close the action was in mainly dry conditions, although increasing amounts of drizzle made things tricky.
From fourth on the grid, he passed Valsecchi's DAMS car for third on the opening lap around the outside of Stowe. On lap two, he dived past Felipe Nasr (DAMS) for second at Brooklands and quickly homed in on poleman, and early leader, Giedo van der Garde (Caterham). Razia repeated his earlier brave pass around the outside of Stowe on the Dutchman but was not able to pull away.
That was because Nasr lunged past van der Garde at The Loop on lap three, and quickly re-attacked Razia. He jumped ahead of him with a bold outbraking move at Village on lap eight, only to run wide and allow Razia back past. That was one of three position changes in the top six, as Valsecchi passed van der Garde for third at Stowe, and Esteban Gutierrez overtook Max Chilton (Carlin) for sixth at Vale.
Razia got the hammer down at this point, and pulled away from Nasr. The Brazilian fell back into the clutches of his team-mate Valsecchi, and the Italian passed him on the exit of Stowe with six laps remaining.
Although he got to within under a second of Razia's lead on lap 18, Valsecchi gave up the chase and coasted home in second. He now trails Razia by six points in the championship, however, as a result.
Nasr held on to third, ahead of Gutierrez. The latter's removal of Johnny Cecotto from fourth, after running wide at Stowe and clattering into the Venezuelan as he rejoined, is likely to result in a stewards' enquiry. Cecotto (Addax) was fired into the tyre wall at Vale, and out of the race, with just a few yards remaining.
Jolyon Palmer finished fifth for iSport, ahead of Ocean's Nigel Melker.
Results - 21 laps: Pos Driver Team Time/Gap 1. Luiz Razia Arden 37m28.656s 2. Davide Valsecchi DAMS + 5.642s 3. Felipe Nasr DAMS + 17.775s 4. Esteban Gutierrez Lotus + 19.969s 5. Jolyon Palmer iSport + 25.869s 6. Nigel Melker Ocean + 28.600s 7. Marcus Ericsson iSport + 31.980s 8. Fabio Onidi Coloni + 35.797s 9. Fabio Leimer Racing Engineering + 38.127s 10. Josef Kral Addax + 40.378s 11. Simon Trummer Arden + 40.533s 12. Rio Haryanto Carlin + 48.471s 13. Daniel de Jong Rapax + 54.161s 14. Nathanael Berthon Racing Engineering + 54.643s 15. Ricardo Teixeira Rapax + 1m15.967s 16. Giancarlo Serenelli Lazarus + 1m17.971s 17. Julian Leal Trident + 1m30.456s Retirements: Johnny Cecotto Addax 20 laps Max Chilton Carlin 19 laps James Calado Lotus 19 laps Giedo van der Garde Caterham 19 laps Fabrizio Crestani Lazarus 19 laps Rodolfo Gonzalez Caterham 3 laps Stephane Richelmi Trident 0 laps Stefano Coletti Coloni 0 laps Victor Guerin Ocean 0 laps