James Calado claimed his fourth win of the season at a slippery Silverstone, making the right choice as the field scattered on tyre strategy, trying to second guess the changeable conditions.
The Racing Steps Foundation backed driver led another 1-2-3-4 result for the dominant Carlin team, battling past teammated Lucas Foresti and Jean-Eric Vergne to claim the win and move into second place in the drivers' championship, though still more than 100 points behind Vergne.
It was the Frenchman who had started from pole, although a poor start saw Foresti steal the advantage through the opening corners. However, Vergne was able to restore the more usual order within the team inside the first lap.
Calado, meanwhile, had started from fourth, passing first Rupert Svendsen-Cook in another Carlin car (he would finish sixth) then Foresti before fixing himself onto Vergne's rear wing as rain fell, the fight for lead now a battle against the conditions as much as against the other racer.
Vergne was the first to lose the battle, first with the conditions, the with Calado slipping wide around Brooklands allowing his teammate through into the lead.
“I'm sure it was as exciting for the spectators as it was for me,” said James. “My heart was racing at about 300mph while I was side by side with Jean-Eric. It was incredible and scary, but we never touched and it was fair racing. I took advantage of JEV making a mistake; the conditions were treacherous and slippy and it's great to win in such tricky conditions.”
Calado stretched his lead, winning by 7.1 seconds clear of Vergne, speeding away in the wet conditions on dry tyres – “maybe it's because he is English, the reason he was quicker than me in the rain on slick tyres!” reasoned Vergne.
Foresti held off Adriano Buzaid for his first podium of the season with Felipe Nasr the first non-Carlin man home – third, fourth and fifth covered by two seconds.
Behind Svendsen-Cook was Nasr's Raikkonen-Robertson stablemate Carlos Huertas whose sevenths place will give him pole position for the second – pitstop-including – race.
Fortec duo Daniel McKenzie and Oli Webb together with Daisuke Nakajima the final points scorer, also the best finisher on wet tyres.
The variety of tyre choice was illustrated perfectly by the three-man race in the National Class. Menasheh Idafar was leading before he opted to pit for wet tyres as the conditions worsened. The stop handed a debut class win to Juan Carlos Sistos, driving for Team West Tec.
James Cole finished second to extend his class championship lead despite starting from the pitlane after making a last minute tyre change to slicks, only to stop during the race to move back to wets.