Guanyu Zhou bounced back from a disappointing Saturday to clinch a dominant victory in the 2021 British Feature Race, which returns him to second in the driver standings.
Zhou made a lightning start from second to snatch the lead from pole-sitter, Oscar Piastri and held the position until he pitted on lap nine, before reclaiming the lead once Jehan Daruvala pitted on lap 24 and sprinted away to a third victory of the season.
Dan Ticktum benefitted from the undercut to beat Piastri for second as the Aussie clung on to third from Richard Verschoor after a controversial finish, as he forced his Dutch rival wide at Stowe then cut Vale on lap 27.
Robert Shwartzman, Felipe Drugovich, Juri Vips, Theo Pourchaire, Lirim Zendeli and Daruvala completed the top ten.
In the driver standings, Piastri’s lead was cut down to just five points as Zhou jumped back up to second with Shwartzman dropping to third, leaving the Russian 17 points off Piastri and 12 points behind Zhou.
At lights out, Zhou made a clean getaway to breeze past a slow Piastri to sweep into the lead as Ticktum leapfrogged Verschoor for third, whilst Shwartzman made up two positions to climb to fifth as the order quickly settled down in the opening stages.
On lap seven, Ticktum sprung open the pit window for those on medium tyres which benefitted him with warm tyres come the next lap, as he swept past Piastri into Turn Three on the outside for then net second place with the Aussie having just re-joined the track on cold tyres after his stop.
Zhou then pitted on lap nine with Verschoor following suit two laps later with the top four from the start still holding the net lead order to the flag once all alternate runners pitted, despite Ticktum dispatching Piastri for an eventual second-place.
Campos’ Matteo Nannini however proved to be a cork in Piastri’s bottle because Ticktum cleared the Italian on inside of Stowe on lap 15, yet Piastri found himself stuck behind Nannini until lap 25 when Verschoor was all over Piastri’s PREMA.
Piastri eventually clung on to third in the end despite forcing Verschoor wide at Stowe then cutting the inside of Vale to defend his position on lap 27, which left the Dutchman furious post-race as his F2 future remains uncertain despite winning the second Sprint Race this weekend.
Further back, Shwartzman fended off Drugovich for fifth in a crazy six car scrap separated by just 2.902 seconds at the checkered flag, with Daruvala claiming the point for fastest lap.
|1||Guanyu Zhou||UNI-Virtuosi||29||51m 07.552|
|2||Dan Ticktum||Carlin||29||+ 3.828|
|3||Oscar Piastri||PREMA||29||+ 19.342|
|4||Richard Verschoor||MP Motorsport||29||+ 20.128|
|5||Robert Shwartzman||PREMA||29||+ 24.775|
|6||Felipe Drugovich||UNI-Virtuosi||29||+ 25.469|
|7||Juri Vips||Hitech GP||29||+ 25.836|
|8||Theo Pourchaire||ART GP||29||+ 26.651|
|9||Lirim Zendeli||MP Motorsport||29||+ 27.421|
|10||Jehan Daruvala||Carlin||29||+ 27.677|
|11||Liam Lawson||Hitech GP||29||+ 39.951|
|12||Marcus Armstrong||DAMS||29||+ 40.516|
|13||Bent Viscaal||Trident||29||+ 44.372|
|14||Ralph Boschung||Campos||29||+ 47.641|
|15||David Beckmann||Charouz||29||+ 47.812|
|16||Roy Nissany||DAMS||29||+ 49.492|
|17||Jack Aitken||HWA Racelab||29||+ 51.977|
|18||Matteo Nannini||Campos||29||+ 52.326|
|19||Marino Sato||Trident||29||+ 53.708|
|20||Guilherme Samaia||Charouz||29||+ 1m 02.605|
|21||Christian Lundgaard||ART GP||29||+ 1m30.203|
|22||Alessio Deledda||HWA Racelab||28||+ 1 Lap|