Esteban Gutierrez made it two feature race wins in a row as he benefitted from a strategic error by Fabio Leimer's Racing Engineering team.
With the race starting behind the safety car due to a wet track, Leimer had led away comfortably once the cars were released after seven laps and looked set to take an easy victory. However, Racing Engineering didn't react when James Calado retired and parked his car on the inside of Abbey, and with many chasing drivers having made their mandatory pit stop already, the resulting safety car ruined Leimer's race.
A second safety car period followed when Stefano Coletti crashed out on slick tyres late on despite the track still being wet, and from there on Gutierrez eased home ahead of Johnny Cecotto, with Jolyon Palmer holding off Nigel Melker and Luis Razia to complete the podium.
Despite the safety car start, Nigel de Jong didn't complete a full lap. He ran in to the back of Rodolfo Gonzalez on the run down to Copse, breaking his front wing and front left suspension.
After seven laps behind the safety car the race finally got underway with 22 laps to run. Melker passed Razia after the safety car line and then dived up the inside of Chilton for sixth place in to Farm before Razia then passed Chilton too up the inside in to Copse.
Leimer made the most of the clear vision ahead of him to lead away with ease, while Palmer slid wide at Stowe and was unable to seriously challenge Cecotto ahead of him. The DAMS cars were the first to pit, and then the Lotus pair came in for two stops that ultimately decided the race. Gutierrez rejoined in second place when all the stops shook out, but after Calado's pit stop it appeared his left rear might not have gone on properly and he eventually stopped on track to cause the safety car that scuppered Leimer's chances.
After the restart, the order remained largely unchanged and behind the top five the DAMS strategy paid off to elevate Felipe Nasr to sixth place and Davide Valsecchi to seventh, while Giedo van der Garde was eighth and takes the reverse grid pole for the sprint race on Sunday.