• GP2, British Grand Prix, Race 1

Bianchi wins exciting feature race

Chris Medland
July 9, 2011 « 'We cannot be happy' - Whitmarsh | »
Both drivers showed supreme skill during their battle for the lead on the damp track © Sutton Images
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Jules Bianchi took his first win of the season after coming out on top of a close battle with Christian Vietoris in the feature race at Silverstone.

Bianchi, starting from pole, managed to resist a mid race assault that saw he and Vietoris exchange the lead twice in one lap to eventually win by four seconds. Vietoris slipped back towards the chasing pair of Marcus Ericsson and Romain Grosjean, but managed to hang on to second ahead of the iSport man.

The race was delayed for ten minutes, starting under a safety car due to the wet conditions, and once the field was released after three laps Bianchi pulled out a comfortable lead. Alvaro Parente was initially the man in second place but he lost out to Vietoris just before the pit stops - which became crucial as drivers tried to pick the right time to switch to slick tyres but also had to nurse the Pirelli rubber to the end of the race.

Bianchi was unstuck by staying out too long on his wets, as Vietoris had pitted earlier and a seven second lead was reduced to mere tenths. The pair then engaged in an enthralling battle as Bianchi went as defensive as possible around the track, which was still very wet off the racing line. Vietoris found a way through though by ducking to the inside at Luffield and passing through Woodcote, but Bianchi tucked in behind before replying with a strong move down the inside in to Copse.

Vietoris still tried to reply with up the inside in to Becketts but had the door closed by Bianchi. It appeared the Lotus ART man had defended well once again as he covered the inside line in to Stowe, but Vietoris brilliantly controlled his car through the water to pass around the outside. Again his lead was short-lived, as Bianchi threw the car up the inside in to Vale, with credit going to Vietoris for giving him enough space as he almost lost control under braking.

This time there was no reply as Vietoris tried to pass around the outside on the exit of the corner but couldn't get the traction off the wet part of the track. From there Bianchi eased away and Vietoris struggled with his tyres to fall away. Ericsson and Grosjean - who had started 13th - closed in having made ground by pitting early but ran out of laps to challenge for second, while behind them Sam Bird came home a lonely fifth having passed Dani Clos soon after his pit stop which followed a brief excursion at Stowe.

Clos was sixth ahead of Stefano Coletti, who had also pitted at the right time to climb from 21st to seventh, and Giedo van de Garde who held off Parente for eighth having started 19th, securing pole position on the reverse grid for tomorrow's sprint race in the process.