The floodgates were open and after this Bird was once again haemorrhaging positions as he had done earlier in the race; after Bianchi, Leimer and Vietoris all passed him, Bird had had enough and came into the pits for new tyres at the end of lap 28; it meant he would drop to last place and didn't have nearly enough time to make many of those positions back, but at least it was more fun overtaking people and setting fastest laps (even if they wouldn't count for the bonus championship point as he would never get back into the top ten) and less soul-destroying than serving out the rest of the race as a mobile chicane for everyone to practice their overtaking moves on - if he could even keep it out of the barriers in the process.
Where Bird led, Filippi was soon to follow: another relatively early stopper, he would find his tyre performance abruptly fall away in the final ten laps. That released Grosjean into the distance while Filippi tried to hold back Pic and Razia. It wasn't long before they want past the Coloni at successive runs through turn 1; a few minutes later and he also succumbed to van der Garde and also to Ericsson in the final minutes as the iSport driver fought his way back from the drive-thru penalty.
Having run in second place, Filippi would end up limping home in a disappointing sixth place, just ahead of Jules Bianchi and Christian Vietoris. Immediately behind, Vietoris' team mate Clos succumbed to Josef Kral for ninth place in the final minutes, but Vietoris himself held on for the all-important eighth place he had gained after seeing off Fabio Leimer in order to secure pole position for Racing Engineering in the sprint race under the reversed grid system
As the driver who stopped earlier than anyone by some margin, Davide Valsecchi was an obvious candidate for the same handling woes that had taken out Bird and Filippi. For a while he loked as though he was bucking the trend and was running reasonably well in 12th place - not bad given the back row starting position he'd been left in after all those penalties. But the tyre wear in the final laps did indeed finally catch up with him and he fell back to 16th place, just ahead of Sam Bird and right behind Carlin returnee Mikhail Aleshin.
Other than Ericsson's drive-thru penalty, Rodolofo Gonzalez was handed a drive-thru for overtaking under yellow flags (before he finally pulled over midrace with evident mechanical problems). Jolyon Palmer was delcared under investigation for not respecting track limits after cutting the chicane; however no further action was deemed necessary, and with Palmer running dead last and a lap off the lead it was all rather irrelevant to the race results.
At the end of 38 laps (the race losing one lap when time-capped to one hour), Pic had halved Grosjean's lead - but it was still a perfectly comfortable 2.6s comfort margin that Grosjean had as he crossed the finish line, with Pic well ahead of third-placed man Luiz Razia who had experienced an up-and-down afternoon on his travels from pole position.
Grosjean's fifth win of the year opens up an even bigger GP2 championship lead over Giedo van der Garde, who finished in fourth place ahead of a frustrated Marcus Ericsson who was still fuming over the penalty that had cost him a near-certain race win.
It was proof that however much skill you need to win a motor race, you also need your fair share of luck as well. And this year the luck seems to be going all Romain Grosjean's way, as the clouds ahead part for the young Frenchman and a return to F1 appears ever more likely in his immediate future ...
Full results and positions