Nasr's blood was well and truly up and he had no compunction about attacking his own Carlin team mate Jolyon Palmer for second spot. Despite making slight contact with the back of Palmer's car, Nasr completed the move and left the Briton struggling to fend off an assault from his compatriot Bird - which he did, but at the cost of forcing Bird off the track into a spin that dumped Bird out of the race. Palmer's move was investigated by the race stewards after the race and he was subsequently handed a 20s penalty in lieu of a drive-thru.
While Nasr was doing all he could to hunt down Frijns for the lead, there was an edge-of-the-seat battle for the final podium position between Palmer, Dillmann and Lancaster. Dillmann pushed it too hard however and ran wide, allowing Lancaster and Coletti to re-pass him as he dropped back to sixth place by the chequered flag.
At the front, Frijns had ensured that he kept enough in hand over Nasr to clinch the win, while once the threat for Dillmann was ended it was a relatively easy third place for Palmer ahead of Lancaster and Coletti. Behind Dillmann, Alexander Rossi came home in seventh place with Kevin Ceccon in eighth initially securing the sprint pole for Trident under reverse grid rules.
However, although Palmer shared the podium with Frijns and Nasr, he would subsequently lose his third place and drop to tenth as a result of the 20s penalty for forcing Bird off track four laps from the end. That promoted Jon Lancaster onto the podium in his place in only his second race weekend in GP2 and his first in 2013, and gave Hilmer their perfect third outing in the GP2 Series since taking over from former series stalwarts Ocean Racing Technology at the start of the year. As early impressions go, that's not bad at all for the trio of Frijns, Lancaster and Hilmer. - and hopefully the first of many for all three.
With Ceccon promoted to seventh by Palmer's demotion, he'll start from the front row for Sunday's sprint race but it's Arden's Johnny Cecotto Jr. who is the lucky dog as he inherits pole position for the morning outing.
See full race results