Arthur Pic claimed his first GP2 victory in an entertaining race which saw two Safety Car periods wreak havoc on strategies up and down the grid.
Pic had started third on the grid but a poor start looked like it had put paid to his hopes of a strong result, only for a early Safety Car to spice up proceedings completely. Campos was one of the teams to react quickly as they pitted Pic to take on the medium rubber early, a move which turned out to be a masterstroke as it put the Frenchman first after the rest of the field had made their own stops.
A late Safety Car period jigged up proceedings further, allowing Stefano Coletti to finish second from 15th on the grid, while Adrian Quaife-Hobbs came home third after starting even further back in 22nd. Takuya Izawa used the late drama to finish fourth, a remarkable feat given that the Honda protégé started at the very back of the grid.
- Jolyon Palmer 178 pts
- Felipe Nasr 139 pts
- Stefano Coletti 114 pts
- Jonny Cecotto 100 pts
- Mitch Evans 92 pts
At the start of the race championship rivals Felipe Nasr and Jolyon Palmer stormed into the lead from Tom Dillmann, who was passed superbly by Nasr on the outside of Turn 1 after getting the jump on the pole-sitter off the line. Palmer had a superb start from fifth, jumping the Campos pair of Pic and Kimiya Sato but struggled to find a way past Nasr out in front as the pair opened up a huge lead over Dillmann behind.
On lap 5 Sato and Stephane Richelmi came together at the chicane, with the subsequent Safety Car allowing those on soft tyres to come in for fresh rubber early. Coletti, Quaife-Hobbs and Izawa all pitted straight away, while Pic was among those in the following lap. Raffaele Marciello also pitted but earned himself a drive-through penalty for speeding, something which probably cost him a shot at the podium.
Pic rejoined fourth as Nasr and Palmer's squabble out in front meant they did not drop the chasing pack as much as their pace suggested they could. Once the leading pair came in for their stops, Pic inherited the lead when Dillmann pitted.
The Safety Car was called out for a second time when Nathanael Berthon ran Sergio Canamasas off the track on the run down to Turn 2, throwing the Spaniard into the wall with great force. There was a lengthy delay as stewards cleared the debris from the track and the medical team treating Canamasas, who thankfully avoided injury in the crash. The safety car took those who had started on medium tyres and switched to soft tyres - many who had just done so - out of the equation for a podium as they ended up getting stuck behind traffic and were unable to make the strategy work.
Pic mastered the restart when the Safety Car eventually came in and cruised home for the first GP2 win of his career, with Izawa just holding off the charging Palmer - who put Danny Abt between himself and Nasr for vital championship points - for a superb fourth-place finish. Marciello made up for his earlier blunder in the pit lane by holding on to eighth, enough for reverse grid pole position for tomorrow's race.