Formula 2

Formula 2: Mazepin wins in Mugello after dramatic late crash

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Nikita Mazepin won a dramatic Formula 2 feature race at Mugello following a late multiple-car crash that involved championship leader Callum Ilott.

After starting from 14th on the grid on an alternate strategy, Mazepin pounced following a late safety car period caused by the incident to lead a Hitech one-two from team-mate Luca Ghiotto.

Christian Lundgaard led the early stages of the race from pole position for ART ahead of DAMS driver Dan Ticktum and Ghiotto, while Ilott made a bad start and dropped from third to seventh.

Virtuosi’s Ilott made a strong recovery by passing Jack Aitken (Campos), Marcus Armstong (ART) and Felipe Drugovich (MP Motorsport) to briefly lead after the top three had made their mandatory stop, before pitting himself.

Ilott rejoined just behind Ticktum but ahead of Ghiotto, who had lost ground during the pit-stop phase, with Lundgaard remaining ahead of the trio. But Ghiotto showed strong pace to pass both Ilott and Ticktum.

Those who started on the harder tyre were now at the front, with Mazepin leading DAMS driver Juri Vips and Prema’s Robert Shwartzman. But Shwartzman started to struggle on his tyres and was passed by Guanyu Zhou, Prema team-mate Mick Schumacher and Louis Deletraz.  Shwartzman’s day got worse after his car broke down moments after pitting.

Zhou was on a charge, passing Vips for second before pitting, as did Mazepin and Vips. But Vips lost crucial time with a slow tyre change.

Lundgaard regained the lead of the race, followed by Ghiotto, Ticktum and Carlin’s Yuki Tsunoda, who had made his way by Ilott. But a safety car period bunched things up after HWA’s Guiliano Alesi ground to a smokey halt by the side of the circuit.

Racing resumed with seven laps to go, but carnage ensued through the first two corners, necessitating a second safety car period.

Tsunoda got up the inside of Ticktum into turn one, but contact between the pair saw Ticktum tumble down the order. As cars became bunched up on the exit of the corner, Zhou collided with Schumacher and Aitken, the latter almost flipping over in his Campos. Ilott was also caught up in the melee and was forced to pit for a new front wing, dropping the championship leader to the back of the field.

When the safety car pulled in with three laps to go, Ghiotto challenged Lundgaard for the lead, but Mazepin pounced from third on fresh soft tyres to overtake the pair of them into turn one, with Ghiotto slotting into second. Lundgaard lost further places as he started to struggle on worn hard tyres.

Mazepin pulled out a 4.4s gap by the finish to claim the win, while team-mate Ghiotto found himself under huge pressure from Louis Deletraz in the Charouz, just holding on to second by 0.1s. Drugovich finished fourth, a further 0.3s behind.

Schumacher finished fifth, taking advantage of woes for fellow Ferrari juniors Ilott and Shwartzman to take the lead in the championship by four points from Ilott, with Shwartzman a further nine points adrift.

Lundgaard slipped back to sixth by the chequered flag ahead of Vips and Tsunoda. But Tsunoda received a 5s penalty for his incident with Ticktum, dropping him to 16th, just ahead of Ticktum.

The penalty promoted HWA’s Artem Markelov, Armstrong and Carlin’s Jehan Daruvala to eighth, ninth and tenth respectively, with Ilott moving up to 12th place, albeit out of the points.

Race result (33 laps)

1 Nikita Mazepin Hitech 59m22.869s
2 Luca Ghiotto Hitech +4.460s
3 Louis Deletraz Charouz +4.519s
4 Felipe Drugovich MP Motorsport +4.860s
5 Mick Schumacher Prema +5.374s
6 Christian Lundgaard ART +7.825s
7 Juri Vips DAMS +8.353s
8 Artem Markelov HWA +10.172s
9 Marcus Armstrong ART +10.434s
10 Jehan Daruvala Carlin +10.663s
11 Nobuharu Matsushita MP Motorsport +11.100s
12 Callum Ilott Virtuosi +11.747s
13 Pedro Piquet Charouz +11.757s
14 Marino Sato Trident +12.428s
15 Roy Nissany Trident +13.588s
16 Yuki Tsunoda Carlin +14.112s
17 Dan Ticktum DAMS +15.959s
18 Guilherme Samaia Campos +52.196s
19 Jack Aitken Campos
20 Guanyu Zhou Virtuosi
21 Giuliano Alesi HWA
DNF Robert Shwartzman Prema


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