Formula 2

Formula 2: Vesti wins chaotic Baku sprint race

Featured image credit: @formula2 official twitter

Mercedes junior Frederick Vesti took his first FIA Formula 2 victory for ART in an incident-filled end to the sprint race in Baku.

Prema’s Jehan Daruvala rose from third on the grid to dominate the opening 14 laps. But a crash for his team-mate Dennis Hauger triggered the first of three safety car periods in the remaining seven laps, with Vesti snatching the lead before the race was halted for a fourth time on the final tour.

MP Motorsport’s Jake Hughes made a poor getaway from pole, allowing Vesti to lead into turn one from the inside of the front row. But Vesti ran slightly wide on the exit allowing Daruvala, who had also passed Hughes, to grab the lead into turn two. Hughes also capitalised to move back into second, but then became a cork-in-the bottle, as Daruvala pulled out an early lead.

Vesti eventually moved around the outside of Hughes on lap six of 21, with Logan Sargeant (Carlin) and Richard Verschoor (Trident) soon also passing the Briton. Hughes continued to slide down the order and, as Hauger tried to pass him for ninth, ART’s Theo Pourchaire capitalised to take the pair of them.

Hauger tried to wrestle the place back from Pourchaire, but locked up before sliding into the wall. As well as ending the Prema driver’s race, the resulting safety car period eradicated his team-mate Daruvala’s controlling four-second advantage at the front.

Daruvala continued to lead after the restart with five laps to go, while Verschoor dived up the inside of Sargeant for third, with Hitech GP’s Marcus Armstrong also following through into fourth.

But, further around the lap, Charouz’s Enzo Fittipaldi made a lunge on Hitech’s Juri Vips, but ended up out of the race down an escape road. Vips was left with nowhere to go and came to a halt before rejoining, with the safety car car brought out for a second time.

Daruvala did not repeat his good restart when the green flags were waved again with three laps to go. After he ran wide in turn one, Vesti pounced to move up the inside into the lead at turn two.  Verschoor also tried to pass Daruvala, but then came under pressure from Liam Lawson. While going side-by-side with the Carlin driver, Verschoor slid wide into the wall, bringing out the safety car once more.

The Dutchman’s car was recovered by the marshals in time for a final lap shootout, with Vesti controlling the restart to remain ahead of Daruvala and Lawson into turn one before a scary incident behind led to the remainder of the lap being completed under yellow flags.

Trident’s Calan Williams was squeezed into the barriers by Campos’s Ralph Boschung, and was then collected by Charouz’s Cem Bolukbasi as his car bounced back onto the racing line, with both drivers emerging unscathed.

Armstrong came home fourth ahead of championship leader Felipe Drugovich (MP), who took fifth from Sargeant at the final restart. Pourchaire was seventh, with Ayuma Iwasa scoring the final point in eighth for DAMS.

Hughes was ninth ahead Iwasa’s team-mate Roy Nissany, while Virtuosi’s Jack Doohan was 11th after an unscheduled pit visit for a new front wing early on. Vips trailed home 12th, but will start from pole in Sunday’s feature race.

 

Featured image credit: @formula2 official twitter

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