Prema’s Frederik Vesti scored his fifth Formula 2 win of 2023 in Saturday’s sprint race at Monza as points leader Theo Pourchaire climbed from 10th to fourth.
Campos Racing’s Ralph Boschung lined up from reversed-grid pole, but a slow start left him three-wide with Richard Verschoor and Vesti approaching turn one. Boschung locked up and missed the corner, rejoining in fourth behind his team-mate Kush Maini.
Van Amersfoort Racing’s Verschoor used the inside line to take the lead, but he was then passed by Vesti through Curve Grande. Pourchaire meanwhile gained places off the line but bounced over a kerb at the first chicane and made contact with Jak Crawford, with the pair avoiding damage.
A spin for Amaury Cordeel at Ascari caused the first of two safety car periods at the end of lap one. Vesti continued to lead at the restart on lap five, while Boschung lost several places immediately and was eventually demoted to the back of the field.
ART GP duo Victor Martins and Pourchaire moved forwards in the second phase of the race, with Martins diving inside Maini for third at turn one while Pourchaire picked off Hitech GP duo Isack Hadjar and Crawford to run fifth.
Martins pulled off another late overtake on Verschoor for second on lap 12 of 21, at which point Nissany spun into retirement after colliding with Juan Manuel Correa. That triggered the second safety car intervention, eradicating Vesti’s 1.8 second lead.
The action resumed with six laps remaining, and Martins had to defend from Verschoor initially after being slow to react to the green flags. Pourchaire found himself under pressure from Crawford, but he ended up gaining a position after lunging up the inside of Maini at the second chicane into fourth.
Vesti held off Martins, Verschoor and Pourchaire in the closing stages for an important victory, while Maini came home a further 1s behind in fifth. Hadjar snatched sixth from team-mate Crawford on the final lap, but the pair both were demoted out of the top-10 at the finish due to time penalties.
That promoted Prema’s Ollie Bearman up two places to sixth, the Briton having recovered a bad start and profiting from a late off at Ascari for Dennis Hauger to finish in the points. DAMS driver Arthur Leclerc took seventh after prevailing in a three-wide battle into turn one on the final lap, while Trident’s Roman Stanek scored the final point in eighth.
Jack Doohan and Clement Novalak completed the top-10, but Ayumu Iwasa lost crucial ground in the championship to Pourchaire and Vesti, the DAMS driver failing to score for a fourth race in a row after being forced to retire in the pitlane with a technical issue.
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