Uni-Virtuosi’s Callum Ilott took victory in a thrilling Austrian F2 Feature Race, from rookies – Marcus Armstrong and Robert Shwartzman.
Ilott benefitted from an unfortunate power related issue for teammate, Guanyu Zhou take a maiden F2 victory, whilst Armstrong and Shwartzman took advantage of an error from Schumacher to round out the podium.
Speaking of his maiden victory, Ilott said; “It is amazing to start the year like this and I want to say a big thanks to the team for putting on an amazing car.
It was great to trust them after all this time to put that together, so big thanks to them and let’s see what we can do tomorrow.”
Ilott however acknowledged that it could be of been a more exciting finish if Zhou hadn’t had his issue, saying; “What a disaster for him because he was really really pushing the pace there and I think that we would of have had a really good race at the end.”Embed from Getty Images
Ilott got a perfect start as he raced into the lead after teammate and polesitter, Guanyu Zhou got a slow getaway but the Chinese driver rapidly reeled Ilott in and seized the lead with a move through Wurth Kurve.
Zhou’s fellow front row starter, Felipe Drugovich meanwhile fell down the order but eventually recovered to finish eighth and secure reverse grid pole position for the sprint race.
Zhou then held the lead ahead of Ilott and Mick Schumacher until he pitted first in which Ilott undercut him, only for both Uni-Virtuosi drivers to ultimately be undercut by Schumacher just as Zhou snatched net second-place from Ilott on lap 20.
Zhou soon had Schumacher within his sights as the German struggled to get his hard tyres up to temperature, utilising DRS to pass Schumacher into turn four and snatch the lead as Ilott unsuccessfully tried to follow through on the inside.
Ilott eventually got past Schumacher on lap 23, replicating Zhou in using DRS on the run to turn four to make the pass.
Three laps later saw Zhou lose the lead after encountering a sudden power issue which dropped him down the field, before HWA Racelab’s Artem Markelov suffered a terminal power issue to bring out the safety car just a lap later.Embed from Getty Images
Ilott controlled the restart to race off into the lead and victory from Schumacher who ran wide at Wurth Kurve and slid down the order, eventually recovering to finish just outside the points in 11th.
Armstrong and Shwartzman therefore benefitted from Zhou and Schumacher’s misery as they fought one another for second, which the Kiwi clung onto ahead of last year’s Formula Three champion.
Christian Lundgaard and Dan Ticktum ultimately missed out on podium placings as they rounded out the top five, ahead of Giuliano Alesi who executed a brilliant long run strategy to finish sixth.
Louis Deletraz, Drugovich, Nobuharu Matsushita and Roy Nissany rounded out the point placings.
Down the order, Luca Ghiotto failed to even make the grid after breaking down on his reconnaissance lap, whilst Marino Sato failed to get away from the grid for formation lap after suffering a technical issue.
Sean Gelael meanwhile retired early on with a technical issue, whilst Great Britain’s Jack Aitken finished 15th after receiving a stop-go penalty for being out of position.
|2||Marcus Armstrong||ART GP||40||+ 8.856|
|3||Robert Shwartzman||Prema||40||+ 9.291|
|4||Christian Lundgaard||ART GP||40||+ 10.878|
|5||Dan Ticktum||DAMS||40||+ 11.277|
|6||Giuliano Alesi||HWA Racelab||40||+ 12.828|
|7||Louis Deletraz||Charouz||40||+ 16.267|
|8||Felipe Drugovich||MP Motorsport||40||+ 17.033|
|9||Nobuharu Matsushita||MP Motorsport||40||+ 17.435|
|10||Roy Nissany||Trident||40||+ 19.543|
|11||Mick Schumacher||Prema||40||+ 20.049|
|12||Jehan Daruvala||Carlin||40||+ 22.008|
|13||Pedro Piquet||Charouz||40||+ 24.996|
|14||Nikita Mazepin||Hitech||40||+ 25.885|
|15||Jack Aitken||Campos||40||+ 30.138|
|17||Guanyu Zhou*||Uni-Virtuosi||39||+1 lap|
|18||Yuki Tsunoda||Carlin||39||+1 lap|
|19||Artem Markelov||HWA Racelab||27||Power|
- Guanyu Zhou set fastest lap (1m 16.983) but because he finished outside the top ten, Callum Ilott got the two points for fastest lap (1m 17.016).