Hitech driver Nikita Mazepin claimed his maiden FIA Formula 2 race victory in the feature race at Silverstone, while Guanyu Zhou's late charge was good enough for second.
Felipe Drugovich qualified on pole position but made a sluggish start on hard tyres, allowing Prema's Mick Schumacher to immediately sprint into the lead from third on the grid.
However, Schumacher's stint at the front was short-lived as Mazepin passed him around the outside of Stowe to snatch the top spot.
Both Mazepin and Schumacher pitted together at the end of the eighth lap to get rid of their medium tyres, while Drugovich, Guanyu Zhou - who had made his way up the pack from eighth - and Jack Aitken stayed out having started on hards.
As the race progressed, the momentum started shifting towards the softer tyre-starters, even though they lost a considerable chunk of time in traffic.
Indeed, when Drugovich entered the pits for his mandatory stop at the end of lap 19, he emerged on track in 12th place, 18 seconds behind Mazepin.
The Hitech GP driver cruised to the finish line from there on, finishing 5.3s clear of second-placed Guanyu Zhou.
Unlike Drugovich, Renault junior Zhou was able to make the alternative strategy work, waiting until lap 22 to make his pitstop.
That gave him seven laps to recover lost ground on medium tyres, the Virtuosi driver passing Christian Lundgaard with two laps to go to claim second.
Red Bull junior Yuki Tsunoda secured the final spot on the podium after overtaking the struggling ART of Lundgaard on the last lap.
Meanwhile, Callum Ilott completed a heroic drive from the pitlane to finish just over 2.5s seconds behind Lundgaard in fifth, slashing the gap in the championship to current points leader Robert Shwartzman.
The Virtuosi driver had originally qualified on the front row for the Silverstone feature race, but a stall on the formation lap meant his car had to be wheeled back to the pitlane.
But Ilott was up the pace immediately, jumping up to 14th in the first five laps before making further inroads to to secure his fifth top-five result of the year.
Louis Deletraz was classified sixth in the lead Charouz car, ahead of MP Motorsport's Drugovich, who had to settle for seventh after starting from pole.
DAMS driver Dan Ticktum charged through the field in the few laps to finish eighth and secure the reverse grid pole for Sunday's sprint race, ahead of Schumacher, who fell down the order with excessive tyre wear.
MP Motorsport's Nobuharu Matsushita crossed the finishing line in a last-gap 10th to claim his first points finish since the season opener in Austria in July.
Matsushita was outside of the points when, on the final lap, Carlin's Jehan Daruvala went off at Stowe and the Japanese driver snatched the final point on offer.
Daruvala dropped to 12th place at the line, as his worn tyres ailed him in Club and allowed Charouz's Pedro Piquet to steal past at the death.
Prema driver Shwartzman endured a difficult race en route to 14th, having qualified poorly on Friday and never having the pace to recover during the race.
Silverstone F2 feature classification
|1||Nikita Mazepin||Hitech Grand Prix|
|4||Christian Lundgaard||ART Grand Prix|
|6||Louis Deletraz||Charouz Racing System|
|7||Felipe Drugovich||MP Motorsport|
|9||Mick Schumacher||Prema Racing|
|10||Nobuharu Matsushita||MP Motorsport|
|11||Pedro Piquet||Charouz Racing System|
|13||Jack Aitken||Campos Racing|
|14||Robert Shwartzman||Prema Racing|
|16||Marcus Armstrong||ART Grand Prix|
|17||Luca Ghiotto||Hitech Grand Prix|
|18||Artem Markelov||BWT HWA RACELAB|
|19||Giuliano Alesi||BWT HWA RACELAB|
|21||Guilherme Samaia||Campos Racing|