Home Featured Bearman wins chaotic Monza F2 feature race as Vesti crashes out

Bearman wins chaotic Monza F2 feature race as Vesti crashes out

by Steve Whitfield

Photo: Prema

Prema’s Ollie Bearman won a wild Formula 2 feature race at Monza that featured five safety car periods and an opening-lap crash for title contender Frederik Vesti. 

The first half of the race was dominated by three safety car interventions, and it also ended under caution, with Bearman leading home DAMS driver Ayumu Iwasa and ART Grand Prix’s Theo Pourchaire, who took advantage of Vesti’s misfortune to extend his championship lead.

Pourchaire led away from pole at the start and withstood a challenge from Bearman into the first chicane to remain ahead.

Behind them, ART’s Victor Martins dived up the inside of Roman Stanek and Isack Hadjar for third, making light contact with the latter, with Stanek opting to cut across the chicane in avoidance.

Stanek rejoined in first before backing off and dropping to third, and moments later Bearman swept past Pourchaire at Curve Grande to take over the lead.

Martins pounced to snatch third into the Roggia chicane from Stanek, who was then compromised on the exit. That allowed Vesti, who had made a great start from eighth on the grid, to move alongside.

Vesti was squeezed onto the grass by Stanek and spun into the path of Kush Maini, who narrowly avoided contact, but the Prema driver then speared backwards into the barriers and out of the race. Stanek was later handed a 5s penalty for forcing another driver off track.

Clement Novalak also spun and became beached in the gravel later in the lap, with the safety car making its first appearance of the race. 

Bearman led for four laps from Pourchaire at the resumption before the safety car was deployed again at the end of lap seven. DAMS driver Arthur Leclerc had braked too late for the first chicane on the previous lap and, after taking to the grass to avoid the cars in front, spun to a halt down the escape road.

The second intervention resulted in all of the leading runners heading for the pitlane for their mandatory stops to switch from super-soft to medium compound tyres. Bearman just emerged from his box ahead of Pourchaire to maintain the net lead.

On the alternate strategy, Jehan Daruvala, Jack Doohan and Iwasa all stayed out to take over the top three positions.

The race resumed on lap 12, but there was a big crash immediately. As the cars accelerated across the line, Zane Maloney crashed heavily into both the outside and inside walls after being hit from behind by Roy Nissany, who was later penalised for the incident. Maloney limped away from his wrecked car, but was otherwise unharmed.

The safety car was deployed for a third time later in the lap as a result, but before that the lead changed hands several times.

Doohan challenged Daruvala into the first chicane, missing the corner before conceding after rejoining, and Iwasa then swept past the pair of them to lead into the Roggia chicane. Bearman then pinched third from Doohan just before the safety car boards were displayed.

With debris on the pit straight, cars were directed through the pitlane, and Iwasa and Daruvala took the opportunity to make their mandatory stops.

The green flags were displayed once more on lap 16, with Bearman quickly pulling over 1.5 seconds clear as Pourchaire battled the still-to-stop Doohan for second. Pourchaire tried a move into the Roggia chicane, only for Doohan to miss the corner and stay ahead, but the Frenchman was able to finally get by on the next lap at turn one.

Bearman controlled proceedings until a fourth safety car period in the closing stages, caused when Maini was squeezed on the exit of Curve Grande by Crawford, with contact putting Maini out with front-wing damage and Crawford suffering a puncture.

Doohan came in to take his mandatory stop and switch to super-soft tyres, with Daruvala making a second stop after a strategy gamble at his first stop did not pay off.

The restart came with four laps to go, and Bearman again mastered the getaway. Iwasa muscled his way past Pourchaire into second at turn one.

Bearman pulled clear of Iwasa, while Pourchaire came under pressure for third, but the race finished behind the safety car after Crawford retired on the penultimate lap at Ascari after going off in a battle with Stanek.

Rodin Carlin’s Enzo Fittipaldi came home fourth ahead of Dennis Hauger, who recovered from a trip off the circuit to take fifth. Doohan made use of fresh tyres late on to climb to sixth ahead of Daruvala, Amaury Cordeel, Ralph Boschung and Stanek. Martins retired late on after his DRS became jammed open.

Race result (30 laps)
Pos Driver Team Time
1 Ollie Bearman Prema 1h03m50.518
2 Ayumu Iwasa DAMS +0.258s
3 Theo Pourchaire ART Grand Prix +0.462s
4 Enzo Fittipaldi Carlin +0.906s
5 Dennis Hauger MP Motorsport +1.167s
6 Jack Doohan Virtuosi Racing +1.587s
7 Jehan Daruvala MP Motorsport +3.033s
8 Amaury Cordeel Virtuosi Racing +3.361s
9 Ralph Boschung Campos Racing +3.532s
10 Roman Stanek Trident +3.915s
11 Isack Hadjar Hitech GP +4.208s
12 Josh Mason PHM by Charouz +4.391s
13 Richard Verschoor Van Amersfoort Racing +5.538s
14 Juan Manuel Correa Van Amersfoort Racing +7.666s
15 Roy Nissany PHM by Charouz +10.025s
16 Jak Crawford Hitech GP +3 laps
Ret Kush Maini Campos Racing
Ret Victor Martins ART Grand Prix
Ret Zane Maloney Carlin
Ret Arthur Leclerc DAMS
Ret Frederik Vesti Prema
Ret Clement Novalak Trident
Fastest lap: Pourchaire, 1m34.678s

Championship standings
 Pourchaire 191   2 Vesti 166   3 Iwasa 152   4 Doohan 138   5 Martins 131   Bearman 130   7 Fittipaldi 116   8 Verschoor 102   9 Hauger 102   10 Maloney 96