Oscar Piastri Wins 2021 F2 Italian Feature Race Thriller To Extend Championship Lead

(Image credit: @Formula2)

PREMA’s Oscar Piastri clinched victory in the 2021 F2 Italian Feature Race ahead of title rival, Guanyu Zhou as he extended his championship lead to 15 points. 

Piastri made a clean start to head Liam Lawson, Zhou, Jehan Daruvala, Felipe Drugovich and Theo Pourchaire, when the top six all made their mandatory stops on Lap Nine after the Safety Car was deployed due to Juri Vips’ race retirement on track.

Dan Ticktum consequently inherited the lead but made his stop on Lap 23 under a third Safety Car, which handed Piastri victory from Zhou as Ticktum fought back to finish third with a late soft-tyre charge.

Pourchaire, Daruvala, Robert Shwartzman, Richard Verschoor, Lirim Zendeli, Roy Nissany and Marcus Armstrong rounded out the top ten.

The race finished under a fourth Safety Car after a collision between David Beckmann and Bent Viscaal, after the first and third cautions were caused by Guilherme Samaia and Liam Lawson respectively.

Verschoor post-race though was disqualified for being below the minimum weight which elevated Zendeli, Nissany and Armstrong to seventh, eighth and ninth positions, with Christian Lundgaard promoted to tenth and the final point-paying position.

In the driver standings, Piastri now leads Zhou by 15 points with Shwartzman now 35 points behind his PREMA teammate in the title fight, whilst Ticktum climbed to fourth after his podium finish.

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At lights out, Piastri made a clean start to lead from Zhou and Lawson as Daruvala lost two positions to drop to fourth.

Ticktum meanwhile opted for the alternate strategy as he began the race on medium tyres but lost eighth to Ralph Boschung, as the first Safety Car was deployed after Guilherme Samaia spun and stalled out of the second Lesmo Curve.

The race resumed on Lap Five as Drugovich took fourth from Daruvala but the Indian driver reclaimed his position a lap later.

Vips three laps later retired with a mechanical issue out of Variante della Roggia as he narrowly avoided causing a collision with Ticktum, just as the Estonia moved over to park his Hitech GP car next to a gap in the barriers.

The Safety Car consequently was deployed for a second time as Marino Sato then retired on Lap 10, a lap after the top six frontrunners all pitted with Piastri retaining his net lead ahead of Zhou and Daruvala who both leapfrogged Lawson.

Pourchaire meanwhile leapfrogged Drugovich during their stops on the same lap to take a net fifth-place.

Upon the restart on Lap 11, Daruvala overtook Zhou by running wide across Variante della Roggia before complaining that he was forced off-track, only to give sixth position back a lap later before making a move himself out of Variante della Rettifilo to reclaim that position.

Zhou however had the momentum and got to Variante della Roggia first, only to be nudged wide by Daruvala as he turned in and Stewards ruled it a racing incident, with Zhou retaining sixth.

Up front, Piastri quickly cleared Alessio Deledda before passing Armstrong and Christian Lundgaard into Ascari chicane on Laps 14 and 15 respectively to improve to second, with Zhou soon making the same moves a lap later than Piastri did to put himself third on the road.

Ticktum up front fended off Piastri who often had to fight to keep Zhou out of DRS range until the Safety Car was deployed for a third time on Lap 22, after Lawson’s fire extinguisher failed on the pit straight.

Ticktum consequently opted to make his mandatory stop for soft tyres at the end of that lap, which dropped the Brit to 11th on the restart, as Piastri assumed the lead from Zhou.

The race restarted on Lap 25 as Ticktum quickly carved his way up to eighth, only to find himself rammed wide through Variante della Roggia by Boschung from behind, with stewards thereafter deciding that he wasn’t at fault despite failing to re-join via the bollards.

Ticktum though wasn’t done as he quickly cleared Nissany, Shwartzman, Daruvala and Pourchaire to put himself within shout of victory with two laps left.

An incident between Bent Viscaal and David Beckmann on the penultimate lap at Variante della Rettifilo however caused the Safety Car to be deployed for a fourth time, with the race ultimately finishing under Safety Car conditions as Piastri took his second race win of the season.

Ticktum meanwhile was bemused at being denied victory as he cheekily humoured on team radio to Carlin about whether there could be extra laps beyond the scheduled distance, which is actually something which does happen in British Touring Car Championship rather than F2.

Post-race, Beckmann was handed a five-place grid penalty for the opening Sprint Race in Sochi, Russia, after stewards adjudged him responsible for his collision with Viscaal after misjudging his braking into Variante del Rettifilo.

F2 will now head to Russia for the sixth round of the season in a fortnight’s time from 24-26 September 2021, where they will be joined by F3 and F1 as all three series reunite for the first time since 2020 Tuscan GP weekend.

Position Driver Team Laps Time
1 Oscar Piastri PREMA 30 56m 39.491
2 Guanyu Zhou UNI-Virtuosi 30 + 1.043
3 Dan Ticktum Carlin 30 + 1.818
4 Theo Pourchaire ART GP 30 + 2.066
5 Jehan Daruvala Carlin 30 + 2.445
6 Robert Shwartzman PREMA 30 + 2.728
7 Lirim Zendeli MP Motorsport 30 + 3.560
8 Roy Nissany DAMS 30 + 3.964
9 Marcus Armstrong DAMS 30 + 4.477
10 Christian Lundgaard ART GP 30 + 5.015
11 Enzo Fittipaldi Charouz 30 + 8.690
12 Felipe Drugovich UNI-Virtuosi 30 + 8.793
13 Jake Hughes HWA Racelab 30 + 10.106
14 Ralph Boschung Campos 30 + 17.038
15 David Beckmann Campos 28 + 2 Laps
16 Bent Viscaal Trident 28 + 2 Laps
DSQ Richard Verschoor MP Motorsport 30 Weight
RET Liam Lawson Hitech GP 21 Fire Extinguisher
RET Alessio Deledda HWA Racelab Collision
RET Marino Sato Trident 9 Power
RET Juri Vips Hitech GP 7 Mechanical
RET Guilherme Samaia Charouz 0 Spin

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