Nobuharu Matsushita stunned Formula Two as he snatched a dramatic Spanish Feature Race victory from 18th on grid.
Matsushita begun the race on the alternative strategy but benefitted from a spin by Giuliano Alesi to pit under the safety car, putting him fourth when he exited the pits.
Once racing resumed, he quickly fought past pole-sitter Callum Ilott to take second before passing Yuki Tsunoda with DRS into Turn One on lap 32 when Roy Nissany suffered a crash at Turn Three to cause a third safety car.
Nissany’s crash also meant that the race went to time with Matsushita holding on for a comfortable win as Tsunoda and Ilott slid backwards as Robert Shwartzman and Guanyu Zhou completed the podium ahead of Tsunoda and Ilott.
Speaking post-race on his stunning win from 18th on the grid, Matsushita was “really happy”, saying; “I have been struggling for pace this season at times, but we had mega pace today.
“The Safety Car was perfect timing, but I will get confidence from this race.”
Mick Schumacher and Felipe Drugovich finished sixth and seventh ahead of Luca Ghiotto, who took reverse grid pole ahead of Dan Ticktum and Louis Deletraz who rounds out the top ten.
Campos’ Jack Aitken finished one lap down in 18th position amongst the late drama throughout the field.
In terms of the drivers’ championship, Ilott continues to lead the championship despite Shwartzman moving above Christian Lundgaard into second and cutting his deficit from 25 points to just 17.Embed from Getty Images
Ilott made a slow getaway at the start to gift Shwartzman the lead despite a lock-up into Turn One, whilst fending off Schumacher for second.
Marcus Armstrong meanwhile spun at Turn Four to bring out the safety car for a lap and once racing resumed, Ilott kept Shwartzman within sight before using DRS to reclaim the lead on lap eight into Turn One.
Shwartzman promptly pitted with Ilott following a lap later to swap their soft tyres for the hard compound, which worked as Ilott quickly reduced a 32 second deficit to the alternative strategy Schumacher to just 5.5s by lap 23.
Prema consequently reacted by pitting Schumacher in the hope that he would do the last 14 of 37 scheduled laps on the soft tyre, as Ilott passed Nikita Mazepin for the lead into Turn One with DRS.Embed from Getty Images
Just one lap later, the safety car was again called out after Giuliano Alesi got spun by Sean Gelael and beached on a sausage kerb on exit of Turn 10.
Several drivers including Ilott opted to pit under this safety car period which left Tsunoda in the lead come the restart on lap 29 as he valiantly fended off Ilott and Matsushita who had effectively gained a free stop after starting 18th on the grid.
Ilott struggled to switch on his soft tyres whilst attempting to pass Tsunoda which cost him as Matsushita bravely battled him from Turns Four to Seven on lap 30, before demoting the Brit to third as Ilott got wide through Turns Seven and Eight.
Shwartzman consequently got past Ilott and eventually second after he and Matsushita demoted Tsunoda during the opening corners of lap 32, just as Nissany ran wide and crashed into the wall to cause a final two-lap safety car.
Once racing resumed for one final lap, Matsushita clung on for the win from Shwartzman as Zhou demoted Tsunoda and Ilott, after Nikita Mazepin received a five second time penalty despite finishing third on the row to drop him to 13th at flag.
Schumacher, Drugovich and Ghiotto complete the top eight who will be reversed for the Sprint Race, with Ticktum and Deletraz benefitting from a five second time penalty for Pedro Piquet to complete the top ten as Piquet slid to 14th at flag.
|1||Nobuharu Matsushita||MP Motorsport||35||1h 02.14.783|
|2||Robert Shwartzman||Prema||35||+ 1.599|
|3||Guanyu Zhou||Uni-Virtuosi||35||+ 6.166|
|4||Yuki Tsunoda||Carlin||35||+ 7.796|
|5||Callum Ilott||Uni-Virtuosi||35||+ 7.954|
|6||Mick Schumacher||Prema||35||+ 8.471|
|7||Felipe Drugovich||MP Motorsport||35||+ 8.831|
|8||Luca Ghiotto||Hitech GP||35||+ 8.992|
|9||Dan Ticktum||DAMS||35||+ 9.438|
|10||Louis Deletraz||Charouz||35||+ 9.949|
|11||Christian Lundgaard||ART GP||35||+ 9.658|
|12||Artem Markelov||HWA Racelab||35||+10.552|
|13||Nikita Mazepin||Hitech GP||35||+ 10.661|
|14||Pedro Piquet||Charouz||35||+ 14.389|
|15||Marino Sato||Trident||35||+ 15.157|
|16||Guilherme Samaia||Campos||35||+ 15.327|
|17||Jehan Daruvala||Carlin||35||+ 18.437|
|18||Jack Aitken||Campos||34||+ 1 Lap|
|19||Sean Gelael||DAMS||34||+ 1 Lap|
|21||Giuliano Alesi||HWA Racelab||Collision|
|22||Marcus Armstrong||ART GP||0||Spin|