Prema’s Robert Shwartzman took a maiden FIA Formula 2 victory in a rain-delayed feature race at the Red Bull Ring after radio issues cost Carlin’s Yuki Tsunoda.
After a two-hour delay due to the weather conditions, the race finally started behind the safety car on a wet track – the race reduced by four laps to 36 – with polesitter Tsunoda dominating the early stages of the race once the safety car pulled in after four laps.
But radio problems meant that the Red Bull junior stayed out too long before pitting on a drying track, which enabled several drivers to leapfrog him on fresher wet tyres, with Shwartzman profiting most by taking the lead.
A slow pitstop delayed Tsunoda further as he rejoined in fourth. But a great charge saw him pass the Virtuosi duo Callum Ilott and Guanyu Zhou in the closing stages and, despite eradicating Shwartzman’s three-second lead with two laps to go, was unable to find a way past, finishing 1.5s behind in second place.
Shwartzman – the reigning FIA Formula 3 champion – dedicated the win to his father, who tragically passed away earlier this year. The Ferrari junior started from sixth on the grid and, after a few laps battling Luca Ghiotto, was able to move up to fifth past the Hitech driver with a brave move around the outside of turn six, before his crucial race-winning pitstop.
Zhou held off a charging Mick Schumacher on the final lap to take the final podium spot in third. Prema’s Schumacher took advantage of a mistake from ART’s Christian Lundgaard to move up to fifth in the closing stages, before catching and overtaking Ilott for fourth, but couldn’t find a way by Zhou.
Lundgaard recovered from his trip through the gravel to finish sixth, with Marcus Armstrong – podium finisher in last week’s feature race on the same circuit – recovering from 12th on the grid to finish seventh.
DAMS driver Dan Ticktum, who complained of poor visibility early on having started in 15th, also climbed up the order to finish eighth, and will start Sunday’s reverse-grid sprint race from pole position.
Jack Aitken – who took part in free practice for the Williams F1 team on Friday – ran fourth early on after passing Ghiotto, but an early pitstop didn’t work, the Campos dropping to ninth by the finish.
Sean Gelael took the final point for tenth in the second DAMS machine, with Ghiotto dropping down to 11th by the finish.
Race result (36 laps)
|13||Felipe Drugovich||MP Motorsport||+38.963s|
|17||Nobuharu Matsushita||MP Motorsport||+54.659s|
|20||Guilherme Samaia||Campos||+1 lap|
|21||Giuliano Alesi||HWA||+1 lap|
Feature image credit: FIAFormula2 official twitter