Luca Ghiotto held off a charging Callum Ilott to claim Hitech’s maiden FIA Formula 2 victory by a tiny margin in Sunday’s sprint race at Budapest.
After a gamble to stay out on worn tyres while everybody else pitted, Ghiotto clung on to win by 0.4s from Virtuosi’s Ilott, who eradicated a 25s gap in the final six laps on fresh tyres.
Ghiotto made a great start from fifth on the grid – with all drivers starting on medium slick tyres on a damp track in the reverse grid encounter – moving up to third by the first corner, before taking second from front-row starter Louis Deletraz in the Charouz into turn four.
As in Saturday’s feature race, Ilott led away from pole position, and built over a 3s lead on Ghiotto in the early stages.
But, as in the feature race, drivers started to suffer with graining on their medium tyres, forcing the vast majority of the field to make an unscheduled pit-stop for softs.
Ghiotto was one of two drivers who opted not to pit – the other being HWA’s Giuliano Alesi – resulting in the experienced F2 campaigner leading by a big margin. Alesi ran second but was passed by Ilott, before eventually being swamped by other drivers on fresh tyres and tumbling down the order.
Once in second, Ilott started to catch Ghiotto by 4s a lap. With two tours remaining, he had reduced a 25s gap to 8s, giving hope of grandstand finish.
Ilott caught Ghiotto for the lead by the final corner of the race, but couldn’t quite outdrag his rival to the line.
Mick Schumacher repeated his finish from Saturday with third place ahead of Prema team-mate and feature race winner Robert Shwartzman.
Championship leader Shwartzman survived contact with Hitech’s Nikita Mazepin after his pitstop while contesting seventh place, before passing Carlin’s Jehan Daruvala, Alesi and Deletraz in the closing stages to take fourth.
Mazepin was fifth after his podium finish in the feature race, ahead of Deletraz and Daruvala.
Guanyu Zhou finished eighth for Virtuosi, with ART’s Marcus Armstrong recovering from 19th on the grid to take ninth, with Alesi hanging on to 10th place on his worn medium tyres.
Dan Ticktum retired in the early stages from DAMS after reporting a loss of power while running in fifth.
Race result (28 laps)
|11||Nobuharu Matsushita||MP Motorsport||+42.731s|
|16||Felipe Drugovich||MP Motorsport||+55.890s|
|21||Guilherme Samaia||Campos||+ 1 lap|
Feature image credit: @HitechGP official twitter