Latifi once again shows his prowess as his late battle with Guanyu Zhou secures another victory.
The Formation Lap saw issues for Juan Manuel Correa, as his car stopped. This lead to the Sauber Junior Team Driver to start from the pit lane. The race began with pole sitter Luca Ghiotto having a terrible start. This sent him down to P7, behind Jack Aitken, Callum Ilott and Ralph Boschung. Guanyu Zhou made an incredible leap from P3 to P1 at the start.
Yellow Flags came out on Lap 1 for Mick Schumacher and Giuliano Alesi, as both drivers spun off track. Nobuharu Matsushita made contact with Schumacher, causing his spin. Schumacher made it to the pits to fix a tyre puncture sustained from the collision. Alesi’s race was effectively over as the Safety Car was deployed on Lap 2.
More drama ensued on Lap 1 as Dorian Boccolacci locked up and made contact with Ghiotto. This sent the pole sitter further down to P17.
The Safety Car ended on Lap 4 with Zhou taking the lead, ahead of Nicholas Latifi and Nyck de Vries. On Lap 6 Boccolacci served a drive through penalty for the collision he caused with Ghiotto, in which the Campos driver re-emerged to P19.
Lap 7 saw the first pitstops of the race, with Zhou and Latifi both pitting, to give Jack Aitken temporary race lead. De Vries, Ilott, Louis Delétraz and Ghiotto all made their pitstops.
Aitken and Sean Gelael eventually pitted, leaving Ralph Boschung, Jordan King and Anthoine Hubert in the top 3 on Lap 9. They were going for an alternate pit strategy.
Nikita Mazepin suffered mechanical issues on Lap 10 which slowed him down. He eventually made it to the pitlane where he became the 2nd retirement.
Matsushita could not defend from some great overtakes from Aitken and de Vries. Zhou, Latifi and de Vries, made up time as they were reaching towards the top 6. Zhou made a brilliant move to nab P6 from Ragunathan on Lap 16. Latifi would send Ragunathan further back to P7 on the following lap.
Boschung and Hubert constantly battled it out for P1 between Laps 16 and 19. Boschung was told by his Trident team to pick up the pace in the lead. On Lap 19 Hubert got within DRS range of Boschung down the straight into Turn 1, and overtook him around the outside.
The battle for P4 took place between Correa and Schumacher. Schumacher nearly made contact with Correa going down the straight. He then gets the move done on Correa who’s sent back to P5. Hubert managed a 1.2 second lead in front of Boschung, while the gap between King and Schumacher is 10 seconds.
Correa has a terrible pitstop and he plummeted to P17. Sette Câmara re-emerged on Lap 21 from his pitstop, but now 9 laps down.
Callum Ilott overtakes Matsushita to get into the points in P10 on Lap 27. The Carlin driver just could not hold off any overtakes coming his way today. Sette Câmara was given a stop/go penalty for speeding in the pitlane earlier, making matter worse for the DAMS driver.
With 10 laps to go, the top 3 is Hubert, King and Schumacher, all of whom still need to make their mandatory pit. Zhou is 21.4 seconds behind race leader Hubert. Schumacher eventually pits for the option tyre and re-emerges in P13.
Nicholas Latifi hears “You will be fighting for the win with Zhou” over his radio, as they will both be battling for P3.
Correa went off the track causing yellow flags in Sector 2. He would see further drama as he and Schumacher made contact at Turn 4 in another on-track battle. This prompts Schumacher to pit for a 3rd time due to damage to his front wing.
Zhou defends against Latifi on the straight into Turn 1, despite Latifi’s DRS range. Latifi does get the job done, going around the outside of Zhou. Hubert and King both finally make their pitstop, emerging P8 and P11 respectively. Latifi takes his guaranteed lead.
Aitken scrambles as he’s .6 seconds behind Zhou. The Campos driver has DRS range and tries to have a look, but Zhou defends to hold him off. Aitken eventually gets his move to stick, as Zhou is unable to defend on the straight.
The chequered flag appears in sight to greet Nicholas Latifi who wins his 3rd race of the season. This further extends his Championship lead. Jack Aitken finishes second and Guanyu Zhou takes his first ever podium in third.
Ghiotto, De Vries, Hubert and King follow, with Ilott getting reverse grid pole for tomorrow’s Sprint Race.