Marcus Armstrong dominated the first Formula 2 race at Zandvoort to claim his third sprint victory of the season.
A late safety car brought out by Tatiana Calderon threatened to deny Armstrong the win, but the Hitech driver put in a perfect restart and finished almost a second ahead of Clement Novalak.
MP Motorsport driver Novalak started from pole, but wouldn’t remain in the lead of the race for long. Armstrong got the better start of the two and swept through into the race lead while Juri Vips and Dennis Hauger challenged Novalak for second.
Armstrong quickly extended a gap to Novalak, pulling out of DRS range before it could be activated. He was almost 1.5s clear at one point, but Novalak managed to break away from the challengers behind him and began to close the gap. It was slow progress, and Novalak was still move than a second behind the race leader when Calderon found herself beached in the gravel with three laps remaining.
A safety car brought Novalak back on Armstrong’s tail for a one-lap shoot-out. Armstrong mastered the restart, quickly pulling several car lengths ahead of Novalak.
There was little movement on the final lap and Novalak came through to finish 0.8s back in second for his first F2 podium.
Hauger managed to find a way past Vips early on and finished third, a further 1.1s behind Novalak, to take his first points since the Red Bull Ring.
Liam Lawson also got by Vips in the early stages for fourth, forcing the Hitech driver over the new ‘fake’ gravel on the outside of turn 11.
The only movement on the final lap came from Ayumu Iwasa, who had spent most of the race battling with Richard Verschoor.
A move around the outside of the Trident driver allowed him to come through and take sixth. The battle enabled Logan Sargeant and Jack Doohan to stick with them late on, but neither would follow Iwasa past Verschoor and they finished eighth and ninth respectively.
Felipe Drugovich struggled to move forwards and finished where he started in P10, but did gain a point by setting the fastest lap.
It was a miserable race for Drugovich’s title rival Theo Pourchaire. After a poor qualifying, Pourchaire had made up a handful of positions on the opening lap when an off at turn one sent him through the gravel. He dropped back to 21st, ahead of only Calderon who stalled on the formation lap. Pourchaire would make up another place when Olli Caldwell retired after an off of his own damaged his car, but would make no further progress.
Race result (29 laps)
|1||Marcus Armstrong||Hitech GP||43m42.549s|
|2||Clement Novalak||MP Motorsport||+0.880|
|5||Juri Vips||Hitech GP||+3.026|
|10||Felipe Drugovich||MP Motorsport||+5.458|
|11||Frederik Vesti||ART Grand Prix||+6.287|
|12||Amaury Cordeel||Van Amersfoort Racing||+6.719|
|13||Enzo Fittipaldi||Charouz Racing System||+7.416|
|14||David Beckmann||Van Amersfoort Racing||+8.103|
|17||Ralph Boschung||Campos Racing||+9.818|
|20||Theo Pourchaire||ART Grand Prix||+11.470|
|Ret||Tatiana Calderon||Charouz Racing System|
|Ret||Olli Caldwell||Campos Racing|
|Fastest lap: Drugovich, 1m25.808s