Home Featured Anthoine Hubert clinches comfortable home win in Paul Ricard F2 sprint race

Anthoine Hubert clinches comfortable home win in Paul Ricard F2 sprint race

by Kyran Gibbons

Photo: Joe Portlock / FIA F2 Championship

Renault academy driver Anthoine Hubert claimed a home victory from pole after dominating the Formula 2 sprint race at Paul Ricard, seizing his second consecutive reversed-grid race win.

Juan Manuel Correa finished second for Sauber Junior Team by Charouz ahead of Hubert’s fellow Renault junior Guanyu Zhou who ensured that all three podium spots were occupied by series rookies.

GP3 reigning champion Hubert launched well from pole while fellow front-row starter Correa dropped to third behind a fast-starting Jack Aitken.

Building a lead of over two seconds early on, Hubert proceeded to manage the gap. After quickly recovering to second place, muscling passed Aitken on the brakes approaching the Turn 8 chicane, Correa traded fastest laps with the leader.

However, he failed to make an impression on Hubert’s margin and the Frenchman claimed a second consecutive sprint race win, to follow up his maiden F2 victory in Monaco.

Virtuosi Racing’s Zhou managed to dispatch Nicholas Latifi with a bold move at the tight Turn 5 early on to grab fourth place before turning his attention to Aitken.

Starting from seventh, a scintillating start propelled Aitken into podium contention. However, the Campos driver immediately attempted to regain second after being demoted by Correa, challenging the American on the extreme inside of the track on the approach to Signes.

Wisely backing out of the move, Aitken lost ground and was then passed by Zhou at the final corner in a move which would seal the final spot on the podium.

Aitken finished fourth, while DAMS team-mates Sergio Sette Camara and Latifi ended up fifth and sixth after a lengthy dice.

Latifi initially lost the place after running wide at Turn 2, allowing Sette Camara a successful lunge at Turn 3. The two ran side-by-side through Signes corner later in the lap, but Latifi was unable to make the outside line work and had to settle for sixth.

Louis Deletraz looked set to bag the fastest lap points before his Carlin team-mate Nobuharu Matsushita pinched them late on.

Deletraz’s pace allowed him to catch and pass ART Grand Prix’s Nyck de Vries in the closing stages, as the feature race winner struggled for speed.

Callum Ilott then passed de Vries at Turn 11 after a superb run through Signes launched him into the overtake to clinch the final point. Half a lap later, Matsushita then demoted de Vries to a 10th place finish.

MP Motorsport’s Jordan King started in third place but ran off the track after out-braking himself at Turn 1 on the opening lap. Losing ground, he did not have the pace to stay in the points, sliding back to finish 11th.

Prema’s Mick Schumacher was the race’s only retirement, stopping on track shortly after pitting for fresh rubber due to a right-rear puncture – his sixth race in succession without scoring points.