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Pantano wins Silverstone feature race.

Giorgio Pantano came from fifth on the grid to win a thrilling GP2 Series encounter at Silverstone, strengthening his hold on the lead of the drivers' championship.

The Italian laid down a huge marker to the rest of the field - in particular title rivals Bruno Senna and Romain Grosjean - after exploding past his rivals to steal an incredible victory after hunting down Lucas di Grassi with six laps to run. Despite not running right at the front for the majority of the race, the Racing Engineering driver kept his head while those around him in the leading group were losing theirs, managing his tyres and timing his challenge to perfection.

Senna converted his pole position into an early lead, with di Grassi easily muscling his way past a slow Romain Grosjean into Copse, but, three laps into the race, the iSport car was off the road at Stowe after being pushed in too deep by the gusting wind, undoing all of Senna's good work as his rivals went steaming through.

With Alvaro Parente and Andi Zuber showing just how tricky the track and conditions could be, the order continued to shuffle and, even when back up to speed, Senna had to fight hard just to hold position. di Grassi, meanwhile, continued to extend his lead while those behind fought, and was 3.5secs to the good after a dozen laps.

Grosjean was by then back up to second, having benefited from the slips by Senna and Zuber, with Pantano third ahead of the Brazilian and iSport Karun Chandhok, who was picking up places with regularity. The Frenchman was also the first of the frontrunners to make his mandatory stop, a lap before Pantano and two earlier than di Grassi.

They rejoined in the same order but Senna, who followed di Grassi in on lap 17 was further delayed when his countryman exited across his bows. The iSport car rejoined in tenth, albeit with several non-stoppers clouding the true picture

If the first two-thirds of the race had been entertaining enough, it was nothing compared to the remainder, with Grosjean and Pantano closing on di Grassi, and the iSport team-mates attempting to make their way deeper into the points as they chased down a struggling Zuber.

Once Pantano had disposed of Grosjean in a wheel-banging move at Abbey, the Italian was away in pursuit of di Grassi, leaving his prey to fall back towards the group behind, clearly struggling with his brakes, which locked and gave great clouds of tyre smoke at every opportunity.

With S├ębastien Buemi piling on the pressure behind Senna, the battle for third had the potential to be a five-way scrap until Chandhok finally got passed Grosjean at Brooklands. The Indian had earlier pulled off a great switchback move at Stowe, only to find yellow flags for Pastor Maldonado's crashed car that obliged him to let the Frenchman back through. Undaunted, Chandhok maintained the pressure before making his move in the stadium section, and was able to take a comfortable podium thereafter.



Related Pictures

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Giorgio Pantano - Racing Engineering [pic credit: GP2 Series Media]
2015 GP2 Series Round 7. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Alexander Rossi (USA, Racing Engineering). Photo: Zak Mauger/GP2 Series Media Service
2015 GP2 Series Round 6. Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary. Saturday 25 July 2015. Daniel de Jong (NED, MP Motorsport) Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Media Service
2015 GP3 Series Round 5. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Luca Ghiotto (ITA, Trident) Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Media Service
2015 GP2 Series Round 7. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Cars line up on the grid for the race. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Media Service
2015 GP2 Series Round 7. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Alexander Rossi (USA, Racing Engineering), Jordan King (GBR, Racing Engineering) & Mitch Evans (NZL, RUSSIAN TIME) Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Media Service
2015 GP3 Series Round 5. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Luca Ghiotto (ITA, Trident) celebrates his win in parc ferme. Photo: Zak Mauger/GP3 Series Media Service
2015 GP3 Series Round 5. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Luca Ghiotto (ITA, Trident) celebrates his win on the podium. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service
2015 GP3 Series Round 5. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Luca Ghiotto (ITA, Trident), celebrates on the podium with Esteban Ocon (FRA, ART Grand Prix) and 4. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service
2015 GP2 Series Round 7. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Alexander Rossi (USA, Racing Engineering) leads Jordan King (GBR, Racing Engineering) and the rest of the field at the start. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Media Service
2015 GP2 Series Round 7. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Alexander Rossi (USA, Racing Engineering) celebrates on the podium with Jordan King (GBR, Racing Engineering). Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Media Service
2015 GP3 Series Round 5. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Matthew Parry (GBR, Koiranen GP) crashes into a wall. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service
2015 GP3 Series Round 5. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Luca Ghiotto (ITA, Trident) crosses the line to take the win. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service
Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Saturday 22 August 2015. Race One Press Conference. Emil Bernstorff (GBR, Arden International), Esteban Ocon (FRA, ART Grand Prix) and Marvin Kirchhofer (GER, ART Grand Prix). Photo: Zak Mauger/GP3 Series Media Service.
2015 GP2 Series Round 7. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Saturday 22 August 2015. The Safety car is deployed Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Media Service
2015 GP2 Series Round 7. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Thursday 20 August 2015. Daniel de Jong (NED, MP Motorsport). Photo: Zak Mauger/GP2 Series Media Service.
Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Saturday 22 August 2015. Esteban Ocon (FRA, ART Grand Prix) celebrates his win in Parc Ferme. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service
Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Saturday 22 August 2015. Esteban Ocon (FRA, ART Grand Prix), leads Emil Bernstorff (GBR, Arden International), Kevin Ceccon (ITA, Arden International) and the rest of the field at the start of the race. Photo: Zak Mauger/GP3 Series Media Service.

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