Nyck de Vries claims his first win of the season, as a tremendous start and early overtake secured his win.
The race began with Anthoine Hubert making a blistering start past pole sitter Callum Ilott. Nyck de Vries quickly followed suit to gain P2 from Jordan King and put the pressure on the Arden driver. Ilott clung onto third from King, while Guanyu Zhou went wheel-to-wheel with Jack Aitken to clench P5.
More misfortune came to Nobuharu Matsushita, as his Carlin went up in flames to bring out a Safety Car. The marshalls extinguished the flames promptly and Matsushita was unharmed. Needless to say this was a weekend he’ll want to forget.
Green flags resumed the race on Lap 4, with de Vries on the tail of Hubert trying to catch the slipstream down before Turn 1. Hubert defended well to hold him off just about for the time being. Once again, when the two met on the straight, it was only .5 seconds between Hubert and de Vries. De Vries within DRS range made the move stick this time going down the inside of Hubert to claim the lead.
On Lap 9, Zhou made up another spot finally getting past King for P4. Down into Turn 10, fellow UNI Virtuosi driver Luca Ghiotto made it past King who went further down the pack. The following lap, Ghiotto trumped his team mate to steal P4, showing his pace and making it look so easily done.
Ilott breezed passed Hubert down the inside of the straight towards Tun 1 on Lap 11, with Hubert quickly receding the place. Zhou tried to come back on Ghiotto but couldn’t quite catch him.
The PREMA drivers of Mick Schumacher and Sean Gelael had a scuffle of their own on Lap 13. Schumacher, within DRS range, just about managed to hold it together down the inside of Gelael up to P9. Gelael did not make it easy for his team mate.
The battle for 6th proved tough for Aitken as he went around the outside of King down Turn 1. Aitken was pushed wide to go down the escape route, remembering to rejoin at the right side of the bollard. Yesterday’s race winner Nicholas Latifi passed right by Aitken who had lost time. Latifi was well within DRS range of King to pass him by on the straight on the following lap.
The battle for 3rd on lap 17 proved to be no contest as again, Ghiotto stormed passed Hubert before Turn 1. Aitken was still on King’s tail who was in P7, while their fight closed the gap between Aitken and Schumacher who was in P9.
The start of the final lap saw another impressive overtake around the outside from Ghiotto as he stole P2 from Callum Ilott. Within a few moments of this move did Zhou move up to P4, sending Hubert further back. Schumacher and Aitken delivered the final seat-clenching battle of the race at Turn 1. Schumacher squeezed Aitken off track, and they made contact when he rejoined. This sent Schumacher wobbling off the track onto the escape route. However, he failed to rejoin the track at the right side of the bollard. This lead to the PREMA driver receiving a 5 second time penalty to his final lap time.
Nyck de Vries crossed the line to win his first race of the season, virtually untouched the whole race. Luca Ghiotto finished second having originally begun P5. And Callum Ilott received his first ever podium finish in Formula 2. The 5 second time penalty meant Schumacher finished P12.
Image Credit: Formula 2 Twitter (@FIA_F2)