Sam Bird delivered a crucial home victory at Silverstone as championship leader Stefano Coletti retired from the GP2 feature race.
Bird beat Stephane Richelmi by 2.4s while Tom Dillmann came home third to give Russian Time a double podium. Coletti had held third place until late on when he made an error on the penultimate lap before being taken out by Fabio Leimer - who finished fourth but is under investigation.
While Bird got a poor start and pole-sitter Marcus Ericsson got away cleanly, Felipe Nasr and Ericsson came together at Village and Bird took an inside line to climb from fourth to first out of the corner. Coletti also benefitted to emerge in second place but from there on could not keep up with Bird.
Coletti dropped back and having taken pressure from Ericsson pit on lap 6. Bird had a comfortable seven second lead when he pit and saw a potential challenger fade as Ericsson was handed a drive-through penalty for forcing Nasr off-track at the start.
However, Bird's lead was erased as he got stuck behind Johnny Cecotto Jr and Adrian Quaife-Hobbs who were fighting for position having yet to stop. Coletti was able to close in on the net leader and as soon as Bird passed Quaife-Hobbs the latter pit to release Coletti. However, Bird then cleared Cecotto and Coletti struggled to do the same to allow Bird to stretch another commanding lead.
Mitch Evans and Dillmann had run long and brought themselves in to contention, with Evans rejoining in a net second place after his stop. Evans was on cold tyres and immediately lost out to Coletti but then a lap later Evans retook the position in to Village. However, all of Evans' hard work was undone when he was handed a 10 second stop/go penalty for speeding in the pit lane.
With Evans pitting, Richelmi dived past Coletti in to Club and squeezed through on the exit, but by now he was already 6.4s behind Bird and could only consolidate second place.
Dillmann was last to pit and put on medium tyres to carve through the field in the final laps. He struggled to find a way past Coletti until the end of the penultimate lap when Coletti locked up in to Club and ran wide to hand him the place. Leimer then tried to dive up the inside of Coletti in to Village but hit the Rapax and took him out of the race. With Nasr also retiring, Bird profited with his third victory of the season to close up on the championship leaders.
With the stewards still to ratify the result, Julian Leal holds the provisional reverse grid pole ahead of Rio Haryanto and Jolyon Palmer. James Calado - having been tipped in to a spin by Jon Lancaster at Brooklands late on - finished ninth and could profit from any penalty Leimer may receive for hitting Coletti.