Robert Shwartzman executed a brilliant alternative strategy to clinch a dominant F2 Feature Race victory, extending his championship lead over Callum Ilott.
Shwartzman started in 11th on the grid on medium tyres but a great start saw him climb to sixth, from which he took full advantage as those in front pitted until pitting at end of lap 27 for the soft compound.
Despite locking up at the first corner upon exiting the pits, Shwartzman launched a rapid charge once he warmed up his fresh tyres in which he passed Luca Ghiotto, Ilott and Mick Schumacher within two laps to storm to a second F2 Feature Race win by 15.599s.
On his win, Shwartzman said; “I had a different strategy which worked out really great so we used the prime sets so we had a longer stint, everybody pitted and we had a free gap so I could push really hard. and every lap was like on the limit so I was pushing as hard as I can.”
Nikita Mazepin finished second on the podium after executing a similar alternative strategy, with Schumacher eventually completing the podium ahead of Ghiotto who took fourth.
Felipe Drugovich and Jehan Daruvala also benefitted from the medium to soft tyre strategy, as they managed to finish fifth and sixth respectively, ahead of Charouz’s Louis Deletraz and Ilott who will start from reverse pole tomorrow.Embed from Getty Images
Ilott made a great getaway to seize the lead at the start ahead of Ghiotto as Guanyu Zhou slid down to eighth, as everyone jostled for position until lap two when Trident’s Roy Nissany locked up into turn one and took out teammate, Marino Sato to trigger the first safety car.
Racing resumed on lap four as Christian Lundgaard tried to pass Ghiotto on the run to turn four, only to hit the Italian’s rear and destroy his front right tyre which resulted in Marcus Armstrong swerving to avoid him and send Artem Markelov slamming into the barriers at turn six.
The safety car was once again deployed as Lundgaard and Armstrong both pitted for repairs, with the latter stalling his car whilst waiting which resulted in ART GP mechanics wheeling him into the pit box.
Both drivers however became the final retirements just laps later as Armstrong’s car was badly damaged whilst Lundgaard suffered a technical issue.
Dan Ticktum triggered an early flurry of pit stops amongst those who started on softs, which backfired as everyone who switched from softs to mediums soon struggled with tyre degradation throughout remainder of race.Embed from Getty Images
Schumacher stayed out the longest out of the early stoppers, pitting on lap 13 before launching a rapid push for the net lead which he duly earned five laps later with a move around Ilott on outside line of the first turn with superior traction.
Schumacher soon sped off as Ilott fended off Ghiotto, Zhou and Deletraz before Ghiotto and Deletraz eventually got past the Brit late on.
Mazepin went the furthest out of everyone with 28 laps on medium before switching to the soft tyres, which saw him launch a late dash to catch those on badly degraded mediums and pass them to finish 15s behind Shwartzman.
Drugovich and Daruvala had started earlier than Shwartzman and Mazepin but struggled to extract similar pace, which saw them finish fifth and sixth ahead of Deletraz and Ilott who form the front row for tomorrow’s reverse sprint.
Shwartzman with his second F2 victory extends his championship lead over Ilott to 22 points, as Lundgaard rounds out the top three but 28 points behind Shwartzman.
|1||Robert Shwartzman||Prema||37||1h 01.36.211|
|2||Nikita Mazepin||Hitech GP||37||+ 15.599|
|3||Mick Schumacher||Prema||37||+ 23.051|
|4||Luca Ghiotto||Hitech GP||37||+ 32.775|
|5||Felipe Drugovich||MP Motorsport||37||+ 36.241|
|6||Jehan Daruvala||Carlin||37||+ 40.104|
|7||Louis Deletraz||Charouz||37||+ 46.191|
|8||Callum Ilott||Uni-Virtuosi||37||+ 48.780|
|9||Dan Ticktum||DAMS||37||+ 49.652|
|10||Guanyu Zhou||Uni-Virtuosi||37||+ 52.176|
|11||Giuliano Alesi||HWA Racelab||37||+ 1m 01.789|
|12||Nobuharu Matsushita||MP Motorsport||37||+ 1m 21.317|
|13||Jack Aitken||Campos||37||+ 1m 31.744|
|14||Pedro Piquet||Charouz||37||+ 1m 45.786|
|15||Guilherme Samaia||Campos||36||+ 1 Lap|
|16||Yuki Tsunoda||Carlin||36||+ 1 Lap|
|17||Sean Gelael||DAMS||36||+ 1 Lap|
|18||Christian Lundgaard||ART GP||10||Gearbox|
|19||Marcus Armstrong||ART GP||10||Collision|
|20||Artem Markelov||HWA Racelab||3||Collision|