PREMA’s Oscar Piastri survived a tough battle with ART GP’s Theo Pourchaire to take victory at 2021 Russian F2 Feature Race, in turn extending his title lead over Guanyu Zhou to 36 points.
Piastri made a bright start as he led until his pit stop at end of Lap Eight but was able to retain the net lead throughout the pit-stop window, before fending off Pourchaire who leapfrogged Jehan Daruvala for second at the start with Daruvala finishing third at the checkered flag.
Robert Shwartzman finished fourth ahead of Dan Ticktum who fended off Zhou for fifth as Liam Lawson, Richard Verschoor, Christian Lundgaard and David Beckmann rounded out the top ten
In the driver standings, Piastri now holds a 36 point lead over Zhou in the title race with Shwartzman now seven points behind the Alpine junior driver in third place, whilst Ticktum and Pourchaire complete the top five with two rounds left of the season.
Pre-race, Felipe Drugovich was declared unfit to start by the Chief Medical Officer after suffering a heavy crash on his way to the grid during yesterday’s Feature Race, which necessitated a trip to the local hospital for precautionary checks.
At lights out, Piastri made a clean start to lead Pourchaire who leapfrogged Daruvala to climb to second as the Carlin driver lost another position to Ralph Boschung who leaped from fifth to third with Shwartzman sat fifth in the opening stages.
Zhou meanwhile made a poor getaway from fourth on the grid and fell to eighth but was able to recover to fifth by the end of Lap Seven, yet Ticktum was able to sweep round the outside of Turn 14 two laps later for a then second-place.
Bent Viscaal meanwhile was spun around by Roy Nissany at Turn Two on the first lap to compound a miserable weekend for the Dutchman, with his second consecutive retirement in two races after having stood on the podium in Monza a fortnight ago.
Pourchaire proceeded to push Piastri throughout the opening eight laps but the latter chose to pit for medium tyres at the end of the eighth lap, whilst Pourchaire stayed out in an attempt to try the overcut which failed to paid dividends as Piastri retained the net lead throughout the pit window.
Further behind the leading pair, Juri Vips suffered a puncture on Lap Six in a clash with Zhou but retired with a mechanical issue at the start of the next lap as he exited the pitlane.
Piastri meanwhile carved his way through the medium tyre runners and regained the lead on Lap 18 after passing Guilherme Samaia, who was the last lead driver out on the medium tyres, whilst Pourchaire lost a realistic shot at challenging for the win after getting held up by Nissany and Samaia mid-race.
Pourchaire though tried to mount a late charge as he got the gap as low as 1.3 seconds but wasn’t able to do anything, as Piastri cruised to victory by 1.928s at the checkered flag.
Elsewhere, Boschung was the first driver to make his legal pit stop on Lap Seven which saw him claim a net third, although a series of late-race lock-ups eventually saw him passed by Daruvala and Shwartzman on Laps 22 and 23 before retiring on Lap 25 with a heavy puncture of his front-left tyre.
Ticktum meanwhile fended off Zhou for an eventual fifth place as Lawson, Verschoor, Lundgaard and Beckmann rounded out the top ten.
F2 will now take a two month break before returning with the final two rounds in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi across weekends of 3-5 and 10-12 December.
|1||Oscar Piastri||PREMA||28||53m 20.402|
|2||Theo Pourchaire||ART GP||28||+ 1.928|
|3||Jehan Daruvala||Carlin||28||+ 12.601|
|4||Robert Shwartzman||PREMA||28||+ 14.485|
|5||Dan Ticktum||Carlin||28||+ 18.058|
|6||Guanyu Zhou||UNI-Virtuosi||28||+ 22.177|
|7||Liam Lawson||Hitech GP||28||+ 30.596|
|8||Richard Verschoor||MP Motorsport||28||+ 33.451|
|9||Christian Lundgaard||ART GP||28||+ 37.775|
|10||David Beckmann||Campos||28||+ 39.118|
|11||Marcus Armstrong||DAMS||28||+ 43.824|
|12||Enzo Fittipaldi||Charouz||28||+ 44.482|
|13||Guilherme Samaia||Charouz||28||+ 45.798|
|14||Marino Sato||Trident||28||+ 51.902|
|15||Roy Nissany||DAMS||28||+ 58.191|
|16||Lirim Zendeli||MP Motorsport||28||+ 1m 08.370|
|17||Alessio Deledda||HWA Racelab||28||+ 1m 24.953|
|18||Jake Hughes||HWA Racelab||28||+ 1 Lap|
|RET||Juri Vips||Hitech GP||6||Mechanical|