Alex Lynn has given his slim GP2 Series title hopes a welcome boost with a dominant victory the Hockenheimring sprint race as a fourth consecutive podium for Sergey Sirotkin put him to the top of the overall standings.
Starting on the front row after being classified seventh in the feature race, a poor getaway for pole sitter Antonio Giovinazzi would see the DAMS driver sweep into the lead from Oliver Rowland, up from fourth on the grid.
Giovinazzi settled in third but after being handed a time penalty for aggressive defending on the run down to turn one, his eagerness to get past Rowland for second would see him clip the back of the MP Motorsport car, damaging his car enough to put him out of the race.
Indeed, Rowland would prove to be the focal point of the race as he was forced into a rear guard action from race long attention from those behind. Nonetheless, despite his evidently fading tyres, Rowland held firm until lap 20 of 27 when he was eventually passed by Sirotkin.
A controversial winner in the feature race, the Russian had started eighth but rose to sixth after the first lap and from here had picked his way up to third before relieving Rowland of second.
However, it was too late for him to make in-roads into Lynn's lead, the Williams development driver clinging on to claim his first win since the opening round in Spain.
Sirotkin's fourth podium in a row, however, has seen him ascend level with Pierre Gasly at the top of the standings and ahead of count-back, a remarkable turnaround for the ART driver, who came into the weekend only eighth overall and was seemingly out of the championship battle as recently as Silverstone.
Even so, Gasly – who started last after being excluded from the race one results – can take heart from his entertaining charge to sixth position, finishing behind Arthur Pic, taking his first podium of the season for Rapax in third, the in-form Luca Ghiotto and the fading Rowland.
Raffaele Marciello kept himself in title contention with points in seventh, while Gustav Malja – who ran third for much of the race – picked up the final point in eighth after being shuffled down the order in the final laps.
Artem Markelov had been eighth across the line after a charge on fresh tyres in the closing stages following an unusual strategy of pitting, but a five-second time penalty for forcing a driver off track would demote him just outside the points in ninth.