After struggling to sixth in Saturday's GP2 Series feature race at Silverstone, Bruno Senna made the most of a spot on row two of the grid to claim victory in a chaotic sprint event.
While the majority of the field struggled with the wet - and worsening - conditions, Senna turned in a performance reminiscent of his late uncle at Donington Park in 1993 - ironic given the weekend's news - to come home ten seconds clear of Lucas di Grassi, who maintained his strong return to GP2 with another second place finish. Championship leader Giorgio Pantano also made the most of others' problems to complete the podium.
The race began on a wet track following an early morning downpour and the front row pair of Luca Filippi and Andi Zuber underlined just how hard it was to get a GP2 car off the line in the conditions. Although the Italian just held his advantage, Zuber slipped backwards straight away, a precursor to a nightmare event for the Austrian. Senna, meanwhile, vaulted into second, with di Grassi also gaining good ground.
The iSport driver was already looking for a way around Filippi by Stowe, but had to wait until Abbey, where he went around the outside of the Italian, before he could claim the lead. di Grassi was then handed second when Filippi went off at Brooklands, and ART's day didn't get any better when team-mate Romain Grosjean, running fourth, lost his front wing on lap two.
By that stage, the race was already devoid of both Sebastien Buemi and Michael Herck, who had failed to negotiate the warm-up lap, and Karun Chandhok, Saturday's podium finisher losing his iSport machine exiting Club. The chaos continued when Vitaly Petrov, frustrated at being stuck behind the wingless Grosjean, looped at Abbey, while Ho-Pin Tung spun twice in as many laps on opposite sides of the circuit before calling it a day. Filippi was off again on lap four, this time rallycrossing over the gravel trap at Abbey, while Zuber and others all indulged in various rotations as they struggled to cope with the standing water.
Senna, however, was having little trouble, the odd twitch aside, and continued to hold a steady advantage over di Grassi as the race moved through towards half-distance. Pantano was equally content to hold station in third, early fastest laps not really making an impression on those ahead of him, with Mike Conway atoning for his poor start on Saturday having moved into a competitive fourth. Andy Soucek, Petrov and Kamui Kobayashi, meanwhile, were battling over the final points.
Even as team-mate Grosjean was embarking on a recovery mission - passing several drivers exiting Woodcote - Filippi's race finally came to an end with a spin at Stowe, bringing out a yellow flag that compounded a miserable weekend for Pastor Maldonado. Having survived a hefty off on Saturday, the Venezuelan stalled at the start of the sprint and then, in his haste to make up lost ground, was drawn into a passing move under the caution. The resulting drive-thru' left him well down the order.
The rain gathered intensity around lap 15 of the scheduled 24, making Soucek's defence of fifth even harder as Petrov and Kobayashi looked for a way past. The Spaniard went side-by-side with his Russian opponent through Stowe and appeared to have held the place before being edged onto the grass into Vale. Although he kept the Super Nova car pointing the right way, Soucek had little option but to yield.
That allowed Kobayashi to close onto his gearbox and, next time down, Hanger Straight the two cars were almost as one before Kobayashi jinked out to make his move at Stowe. Again, the feisty Soucek held firm around the outside, but this time got a wheel on the kerb and speared across his rival's bows and into the barriers on the inside of the circuit. As with Maldonado in the feature, it was a sizeable shunt, but the driver fortunately emerged unscathed.