Frederik Vesti snatched a late victory in a dramatic Italian Race One as Prema secured a second consecutive constructor title, whilst the drivers’ title race took another twist.
Vesti began the race in ninth but slowly took advantage of various incidents further ahead to work his way up to third, when a safety car was deployed on lap 12 after Sebastian Fernandez spun into the gravel trap at Ascari.
Upon the restart, Vesti swept past Jake Hughes and launched a charge on Theo Pourchaire which saw the Frenchman reeled in and eventually passed on lap 20 into Variante as Vesti then held on for victory.
Oscar Piastri rounded out the podium after fighting through the pack from 15th after a grid penalty to take third and the championship lead, after Prema teammate and title rival – Logan Sargeant was spun out of the points on lap 14 by Carlin’s Clement Novalak.
David Beckmann snatched fourth from Hughes on the final lap as Liam Lawson, Lirim Zendeli, Bent Viscaal, Enzo Fittipaldi and Michael Belov rounded out the points.
In terms of the standings, Piastri now leads Sargeant by eight points with Pourchaire now up to third but 46 points behind Piastri.
Lawson made a great start from pole position to lead from Matteo Nannini as Pourchaire got a super launch to climb to third ahead of Hughes, whilst Fernandez suffered a spin in mid-pack on the run to Variante of which he luckily avoided contact with several cars around him.
Enzo Fittipaldi stalled at the start but eventually got going and and benefitted from various incidents to secure ninth at the flag.
Pourchaire swept pass Nannini for second on lap two before utilising DRS two laps later to claim the lead from Lawson whilst Hughes got past Nannini on lap three for third with the same move.
Sargeant meanwhile struggled for pace in the opening stages and found himself tumbling down the order when he ran wide down the Variante escape road on lap five, which left him battling fellow title rival and Prema teammate, Piastri until the safety car was deployed on lap 12.
Hughes overtook Lawson for second on lap six to leave the Aussie battling Nannini until the Italian made a late inside move into Variante on lap nine as Lawson cut across and broke Nannini’s front left tyre to send him into race retirement, just two laps after Nannini’s teammate – Calan Williams had been spun out of the points by Alex Peroni at that same corner.
Lawson however would lose third to Vesti through the first Lesmo curve on lap 12 after scrapping through Variante Della Roggia just before the safety car was deployed in order to allow marshals to remove Fernandez’s beached ART GP car from the gravel trap at Ascari.
Upon the safety car restart on lap 14, Vesti utilised the slipstream to breeze past Hughes whilst Sargeant’s hopes of retaining the championship lead was ended at Variante Della Roggia, after the American’s rear was tapped by Novalak to send him spinning down the order to an eventual 26th placed finish in a huge blow for his title hopes with three races left of this season.
Novalak was hit with a ten second time penalty which dropped him from seventh to 14th at the checkered flag.
Up front, Vesti was on an immediate charge as he reeled in Pourchaire and eventually got past with DRS on lap 20 before fending off return attacks from the Frenchman to clinch his second win of the season, whilst Piastri was on a rapid late charge as he took Peroni, Lawson and Hughes for third in the closing stages with Beckmann demoting Hughes to fifth with a late move into Variante on the final lap.
Zendeli finished seventh ahead of Bent Viscaal who had worked his way up from 21st position on the grid, as Fittipaldi and Belov rounded out the top ten with the Russian securing a maiden reverse grid pole for Race Two.
|1||Frederik Vesti||Prema||22||38m 22.192|
|2||Theo Pourchaire||ART GP||22||+ 0.899|
|3||Oscar Piastri||Prema||22||+ 5.470|
|4||David Beckmann||Trident||22||+ 6.124|
|5||Jake Hughes||HWA Racelab||22||+ 7.419|
|6||Liam Lawson||Hitech GP||22||+ 7.984|
|7||Lirim Zendeli||Trident||22||+ 8.692|
|8||Bent Viscaal||MP Motorsport||22||+ 9.232|
|9||Enzo Fittipaldi||HWA Racelab||22||+ 12.192|
|10||Michael Belov||Charouz||22||+ 15.441|
|11||Roman Stanek||Charouz||22||+ 15.755|
|12||Jack Doohan||HWA Racelab||22||+ 16.862|
|13||Dennis Hauger||Hitech GP||22||+ 17.290|
|14||Clement Novalak||Carlin||22||+ 18.455|
|15||Lukas Dunner||MP Motorsport||22||+ 19.185|
|16||Cameron Das||Carlin||22||+ 20.283|
|17||Alex Peroni||Campos||22||+ 21.026|
|18||Pierre-Louis Chovet||Hitech GP||22||+ 21.922|
|19||David Schumacher||Carlin||22||+ 27.277|
|20||Aleksandr Smolyar||ART GP||22||+ 28.375|
|21||Sophia Floersch||Campos||22||+ 28.393|
|22||Federico Malvestiti||Jenzer||22||+ 29.057|
|23||Alessio Deledda||Campos||22||+ 29.434|
|24||Igor Fraga||Charouz||22||+ 34.067|
|25||Calan Williams||Jenzer||22||+ 34.500|
|26||Logan Sargeant||Prema||22||+ 38.847|
|27||Richard Verschoor||MP Motorsport||22||+ 46.678|
|28||Sebastian Fernandez||ART GP||11||Spin|