Formula 2

Formula 2: Bearman wins incident-filled Monza feature race as Vesti suffers title blow

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Ollie Bearman won a hectic Formula 2 feature race at Monza, while his Prema team-mate crashed out on the opening lap.

ART GP’s Theo Pourchaire extended his championship lead over Vesti by finishing third behind Bearman and DAMS’ Ayumu Iwasa in a race that finished behind the safety car, which was brought out on five occasions due to a number of incidents.

Pourchaire lined up from pole and held off Bearman into turn one at the start. Behind them, Victor Martins lunged up the inside of Jak Crawford and Roman Stanek, the latter taking evasive action and missing the first chicane, maintaining third after rejoining.

Bearman swept past Pourchaire for first place at Curve Grande, while Martins snatched third into the second chicane from Stanek.

Vesti, who had climbed from eighth to fifth at the start, tried to pass Stanek on the exit but was squeezed onto the grass and spun before striking the barriers, with Kush Maini narrowly avoiding him. Vesti was out on the spot, denting his title hopes, and Stanek was later handed a 5s penalty for forcing Vesti off the track.

Clement Novalak also retired on the opening lap after spinning into the gravel, with the safety car deployed.

The race resumed on lap four, with Bearman continuing to lead from Pourchaire. But the race was soon interrupted again when DAMS driver Arthur Leclerc outbraked himself into the first chicane and spun out on the grass as he tried to avoid running into the back of the cars in front. That necessitated the return of the safety car at the end of lap seven, and triggered pitstops for all of the leading runners.

Jehan Daruvala led from Jack Doohan and Iwasa at the restart, the trio having not pitted, but a crash towards the rear of the field neutralised the race for a third time. Roy Nissany tagged Zane Maloney into a spin as the cars resumed racing speed on the pit straight, with Maloney crashing heavily into the barriers and Nissany later penalised for the incident.

It was not until later in the lap that the safety car boards were shown, with the cars still racing all the way until Ascari. Doohan tried to take the lead at turn one but ended up missing the corner. He backed off on rejoining to allow Daruvala back through, but Iwasa pounced to pass the pair into the Roggia chicane to take the lead, with Doohan then losing third to Bearman.

The field was directed through the pitlane as the debris was cleared from the pit straight, with Iwasa and Daruvala taking the opportunity to make their mandatory stops.

That promoted Bearman back to the lead ahead of Doohan – still to stop – and Pourchaire, who tried to take second shortly after the restart at the Roggia chicane. Doohan remained ahead despite missing the corner, but Pourchaire managed to finally pass the Alpine junior into turn one next time by, while Bearman held more than a 1.5s lead.

The safety was deployed for a fourth time when Crawford squeezed Maini through Curve Grande, with contact putting Maini out with front-wing damage and Crawford forced to pit with a puncture.

Doohan used the latest caution period to make his mandatory stop, promoting Iwasa to third behind Bearman and Pourchaire.

Iwasa snatched second from Pourchaire at the resumption with four laps to go, with Pourchaire then struggling and coming under pressure from behind. Bearman pulled clear before the fifth and final intervention on the penultimate lap, where Crawford went off at Ascari while battling with Stanek and came to a halt.

Bearman led home Pourchaire and Iwasa behind the safety car, with Enzo Fittipaldi finishing fourth ahead of Dennis Hauger, while Doohan made up ground following his late pitstop to sixth.

Daruvala was seventh ahead of Amaury Cordeel and Ralph Boschung, with Stanek completing the top-10. Martins was another retiree late on after his DRS became jammed open.


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