Formula 2

ICYMI: Nicholas Latifi leads the way after Baku Sprint Race

Feature Image Credit: Formula 2 Twitter (@FIA_F2)

Nicholas Latifi leads the championship after taking his second victory of the season in Baku.

Today’s Sprint Race saw more chaos which the Baku City Circuit has become known for. Sean Gelael got a good start off the grid having started P3. Gelael managed to squeeze between Juan Manuel Correa in P2 and pole sitter Nikita Mazepin down to P3. Correa managed to hold second but Nicholas Latifi quickly stole third from Mazepin down before Turn 2.

Yellow flags waved after a lock up from Tatiana Calderón just before Turn 2, sending her into the escape road after hitting Ralph Boschung, which also took out Louis Delétraz. Jack Aitken and Jordan King both managed to make a move Dorian Boccolacci, almost going 3-wide as Aitken went around the outside of them both. The first Safety Car of the race was soon brought out.

Gelael kept a good lead after the restart, still followed by Correa. Not long did Latifi made a move on Correa around the outside to grab second. Meanwhile Aitken was further putting pressure on Sauber Junior driver, but Correa held his racing line secure.

Gelael was a good 2.3 seconds ahead and out of the DRS reach after the fight of P2 kept him in front. Latifi began providing too much for the PREMA driver, as not long did he creep up 0.7 seconds behind him. Eventually Latifi would make easy work of taking the lead. Galael would begin to lose time and rift away, despite his team telling him to push.

Latifi secured a comfortable lead, while Correa took P2 from Galael. Aitken, Nyck de Vries and Luca Ghiotto all battled out in the top six. Galael would further fall back as Aitken won out taking third, with Ghiotto and de Vries following him behind.

Tident’s Giuliano Alesi locked up his front right tyre trying to make a move on Guanyu Zhou. Alesi hit against the barrier, ending a miserable weekend for the team.

The Green Flags waved once more with Latifi putting the hammer down. Correa made a deep lunge and locked up going wide, temporarily taking the lead. Latifi immediately stormed ahead to regain his position.

The restart would not last long as Ghiotto touched the back of Aitken just before Turn 2. This sent the UNI Virtuosi driver into the wall, also taking out Jordan King and Nikita Mazepin. Anthoine Hubert managed to go down the escape road, avoiding a 4 car pile-up.

De Vries briefly took third from Aitken following the crash. But a lock up from de Vries gave the position back to yesterday’s Feature Race winner.

The final Safety Car of the race was deployed with 11 minutes left on the race clock. The race once again began with 90 second left on the clock. It was Latifi, Correa, and de Vries rounding up the top 3. Latifi crossed the start line with 13 seconds to go, and Nobuharu Matsushita went down the escape road in Turn 2.

The last lap initiated and Aitken got the tow from de Vries to bring him back up to third. Both PREMAs battled around Turn 1 with Mick Schumacher edging ahead of his teammate to take fifth. Sette Câmara and Boccolacci would both overtake Gelael further.

Nicholas Latifi kept his cool in the final lap to cross the finish line first, followed by Juan Manuel Correa in second, and Jack Aitken securing third. This is Latifi’s second win of the season which brings him to the lead of the Driver’s Championship, while his team DAMS also take the lead of the Constructor’s Championship. Jack Aitken stands second in the Driver’s Championship, followed by Luca Ghiotto.

Tatiana Calderón received a 3-place grid penalty for Round 3 in Barcelona, following her lock-up which took out 2 other drivers.

Featured Image Credit: Formula 2 Twitter (@FIA_F2)
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