Robert Shwartzman won Saturday’s first FIA Formula 2 sprint race at Silverstone, while a spin for Guanyu Zhou handed Oscar Piastri the points lead.
A fantastic start enabled Prema’s Shwartzman to immediately move in front from third on the grid, before leading home Hitech’s Juri Vips and ART’s Christian Lundgaard in a race disrupted by three safety car periods.
The first intervention was the most significant, caused when Virtuosi’s Zhou spun into retirement from fourth after just three corners. DAMS driver Roy Nissany’s race also ended in the gravel at the same corner after contact.
Racing resumed on the fourth lap – with Shwartzman leading from Vips and Lundgaard, the latter having started on reversed-grid pole.
Prema’s Piastri quickly made up ground to run seventh, having started from 10th after topping Friday’s qualifying session. He then went wheel-to-wheel for sixth with Hitech’s Liam Lawson for several corners.
But their battle was interrupted by a second safety car period, caused by a collision between Trident’s Marino Sato and HWA’s Alessio Deledda at Abbey which put the latter out of the race.
Piastri pounced to pass Lawson into Village when the action got back underway. After a few laps of racing, Charouz driver Guilherme Samaia caused a third caution period after becoming beached in the gravel at Luffield.
The racing was uninterrupted after that, with Shwartzman controlling proceedings until the chequered flag. Vips finished just under one second behind, with Lundgaard a further 1.5s adrift.
Virtuousi’s Felipe Drugovich was fifth, just 0.5s ahead of ART’s Theo Pourchiare, who is recovering from an arm injury sustained at the previous round in Baku.
Piastri finished sixth and, by taking the fastest lap, moved two points ahead of team-mate Shwartzman in the championship standings.
Lawson held off Carlin’s Dan Ticktum to take seventh, with DAMS driver Marcus Armstong finishing just behind the pair.
MP Motorsport duo Lirim Zendelli and Richard Verschoor were involved in a battle for 10th for most of the race, with Verschoor passing his team-mate into Stowe with three laps to go and securing reversed-grid pole for Saturday’s second sprint race.
Race result (21 laps)
|10||Richard Verschoor||MP Motorsport||+13.640s|
|11||Lirim Zendeli||MP Motorsport||+14.222s|
|18||Marino Sato||Trident||+4 laps|
Featured image credit: @fia_f2 official twitter