PREMA’s Oscar Piastri emerged victorious in a dramatic 2021 Saudi Arabian Sprint Race Two to move closer towards the 2021 F2 title.
Jehan Daruvala led from reverse-pole as Piastri leapt up to second whilst four drivers were eliminated further back after two separate collisions, which brought out the Safety Car for the first of three appearances.
Daruvala would then manage to hold the lead on two restarts but locked up and gained an advantage on the second restart on Lap Nine, which cost him a five-second time penalty which dropped him to 14th at the checkered flag.
Piastri though made a race-winning overtake on Lap 17 to make sure of his fourth victory of the season and put him closer towards the title.
Bent Viscaal finished second after benefitting from a 5s time penalty for Christian Lundgaard after he made the same mistake as Daruvala but a lap later than the Carlin driver.
Liam Lawson spun off on Lap 18 which meant that the race finished under the Safety Car with the pack tightly bunched up, enabling Robert Shwartzman to finish third after Daruvala and Lundgaard’s penalties were applied.
At the top of the drivers’ standings, Piastri now leads Shwartzman by 47 points with four races left this season, although the title can be won in tomorrow’s Feature Race if Piastri can extend his lead beyond reach.
At lights out under the lights of Jeddah, Daruvala got a clean start to fend off Piastri who snuck past Viscaal into second after the Dutchman got squeezed wide on exit of Turn Two by Daruvala with Lundgaard sneaking through into third.
Further behind the front four, Novalak locked up and spun Sprint Race One winner – Marcus Armstrong whilst Guilherme Samaia and Alessio Deledda collided, which instantly eliminated all four drivers on the spot as the Safety Car was deployed.
Novalak consequently was handed a three-place grid penalty for the Feature Race and will now line up 15th on the grid, after having qualified 12th for that race.
Once racing resumed on Lap Five, the order stayed as it was with Pourchaire in particular having made huge progress at the start to put himself 12th on the restart ahead of Guanyu Zhou.
Felipe Drugovich passed Juri Vips at the end of the fifth lap into the final corner but the Estonian tried fighting back into Turn One, only to hit Drugovich’s rear end causing his front wing to collapse underneath his Hitech GP as he became the fifth retirement of this race.
Logan Sargeant however added to that list a lap later as he retired with mechanical issues under the Safety Car which came in a lap later, with Daruvala leading the field back racing again.
Daruvala though got wide out of the final corner and as he began Lap Nine, he suffered a lock-up and ran wide through Turns One and Two, which gave him a lasting advantage and stewards penalised him with a 5s time penalty.
Lundgaard a lap later made the same error as he battled Viscaal and was too struck with a 5s time penalty.
Up front, Piastri continued to hassle Daruvala and eventually dived up the inside of the final corner on Lap 14, only for Daruvala to gain the slipstream and DRS to reclaim the lead into Turn One but Piastri ultimately got through at Turn One on Lap 17 to snatch victory.
Further back, there was an almighty scrap for third which was ultimately halted after Lawson spun into the barriers on Lap 18, which caused the race to finish under the Safety Car.
Daruvala and Lundgaard consequently tumbled down the order following post-race application of their time penalties, which meant that the pair finished 14th and 15th respectively.
|1||Oscar Piastri||PREMA||20||45m 31.603|
|2||Bent Viscaal||Trident||20||+ 2.521|
|3||Robert Shwartzman||PREMA||20||+ 3.371|
|4||Dan Ticktum||Carlin||20||+ 3.454|
|5||Jack Doohan||MP Motorsport||20||+ 3.598|
|6||Theo Pourchaire||ART GP||20||+ 3.661|
|7||Enzo Fittipaldi||Charouz||20||+ 3.879|
|8||Guanyu Zhou||UNI-Virtuosi||20||+ 4.128|
|9||Ralph Boschung||Campos||20||+ 4.351|
|10||Felipe Drugovich||UNI-Virtuosi||20||+ 4.619|
|11||Roy Nissany||DAMS||20||+ 4.813|
|12||Olli Caldwell||Campos||20||+ 6.148|
|13||Marino Sato||Trident||20||+ 6.449|
|14||Jehan Daruvala||Carlin||20||+ 7.003|
|15||Christian Lundgaard||ART GP||20||+ 7.243|
|RET||Liam Lawson||Hitech GP||17||Spin|
|RET||Logan Sargeant||HWA Racelab||6||Mechanical|
|RET||Juri Vips||Hitech GP||5||Collision|
|RET||Clement Novalak||MP Motorsport||0||Collision|
|RET||Alessio Deledda||HWA Racelab||0||Collision|