Giorgio Pantano’s F1 career might have been short-lived – but he seems to have well and truly found his home in GP2, where he now convincingly leads the championship race after winning the first of the two races at Silverstone.
In an incident-packed outing he managed to get himself up from a qualifying position of fifth, passing Lucas di Grassi and a squabbling mess of challengers as he did so, to secure victory.
In a race where tyre strategy and timing were crucial the Italian managed to deprive race leader di Grassi of his advantage with just six laps to go, before cruising to an untroubled win.
Bruno Senna started on pole, and managed a smooth getaway – until he mishandled a corner and surrendered places to his title rivals, leaving him with a struggle to regain position that lasted for several laps.
As the race continued, and gusting winds made keeping a line through corners difficult, di Grassi, Romain Grosjean, Pantano, Andreas Zuber and Senna fought for a way past each other.
Eventually Pantano got past Grosjean and was able to hunt down di Grassi, making short work of his 3.7 second lead. Meanwhile the hard-charging Karun Chandhok and Sebastien Buemi had joined the battle to take third from Grosjean, whose tyres were by then worn out.
In the end, Chandhok took third, Buemi fourth and Grosjean hung on for fifth. Senna, Zuber and Luca Filippi rounded out the points.
Mike Conway had qualified eighth but was left stranded on the line at the start, dropping to 23rd before battling back to finish 14th.
Pantano’s third win of the season extended his championship lead to 46 points, 13 ahead of nearest rival Senna, while Buemi holds on to third position with 25 points, two points ahead of Grosjean in fourth.