Home Featured Bortoleto scores maiden F2 win with controlled drive at Red Bull Ring

Bortoleto scores maiden F2 win with controlled drive at Red Bull Ring

by Steve Whitfield

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Gabriel Bortoleto scored his first Formula 2 victory with a controlled drive in the Red Bull Ring feature race.

The Virtuosi Racing driver came home 4.296 seconds clear of MP Motorsport’s Franco Colapinto, who used an alternate strategy to snatch second from Campos Racing’s Isack Hadjar on the final lap.

There was drama at the beginning of the formation lap with MP’s poleman Dennis Hauger stalling, with DAMS’ Jak Crawford and Virtuosi’s Kush Maini doing the same. All three started from the pitlane.

That left AIX Racing’s Joshua Duerksen alone on the front row, and he led Bortoleto, Colapinto and Hitech GP’s points leader Paul Aron through lap one as Hadjar prevailed in a tussle with team-mate Pepe Marti for fifth.

Bortoleto immediately applied pressure on Duerksen, and after trying to make a move into turn four on lap three grabbed the lead on lap four. Colapinto took second two laps later, while a battle raged for fourth between Aron and Hadjar.

Marti was the first of the leading runners to make his mandatory pitstop and, crucially, as he headed into the pitlane a virtual safety car period began due to Rodin Motorsport’s Zane Maloney pulling off the circuit with an issue.  That enabled him to gain the net-race lead by almost six seconds from Bortoleto once the others had pitted. Having started on the harder tyre compound, Colapinto held the actual lead until the closing stages.

It took Bortoleto 10 laps to reel in Marti before making his way by at turn three at the race’s halfway stage. Hadjar also soon caught Marti, who initially defended before being instructed by his engineer to give way, with Hadjar trailing Bortoleto by 2.7s after moving past.

Hadjar closed in slightly when Bortoleto lost time behind the still-to-pit Crawford and Zak O’Sullivan as they squabbled over third. Bortoleto was able to extend his advantage once more, and he returned to the lead with eight laps once Colapinto pitted. Hadjar’s challenged faded, and he was caught by Marti for second. 

Colapinto used his fresh tyres to pass Aron for fourth with three laps to go before reeling in the Campos duo. He drove around the outside of Marti on the penultimate tour, then snatched second from Hadjar on the last lap as Bortoleto cruised home to become the 12th different winner of the season.

Marti finished fourth, but faces a post-race investigation for making his pitstop during the VSC period. A five-second penalty for changing direction more than once during an earlier battle dropped Aron one place to sixth behind Van Amersfoort Racing’s Enzo Fittipaldi, who started 15th.

Duerksen came home seventh and 10s clear of Hitech’s Amaury Cordeel, another to pit later on. AIX’s Taylor Barnard was ninth, while ART Grand Prix’s O’Sullivan held off Crawford and team-mate Victor Martins for 10th.

Sprint race winner Ollie Bearman ran seventh early on but eventually slowed and retired in the pitlane, and Prema team-mate Andrea Kimi Antonelli stalled during his pitstop. Ritomo Miyata joined his Rodin team-mate Maloney by retiring with a technical issue.

Race results (40 laps)
Pos Driver Team Time
1 Gabriel Bortoleto Virtuosi Racing 53m59.322s
2 Franco Colapinto MP Motorsport +4.296s
3 Isack Hadjar Campos Racing +5.553s
4 Pepe Marti Campos Racing +6.035s
5 Enzo Fittipaldi Van Amersfoort Racing +11.399s
6 Paul Aron Hitech GP +11.437s
7 Joshua Duerksen AIX Racing +12.562s
8 Amaury Cordeel Hitech GP +22.557s
9 Taylor Barnard AIX Racing +27.634s
10 Zak O’Sullivan ART Grand Prix +32.180s
11 Jak Crawford DAMS +32.244s
12 Victor Martins ART Grand Prix +32.613s
13 Dennis Hauger MP Motorsport +33.470s
14 Andrea Kimi Antonelli Prema +34.724s
15 Juan Manuel Correa DAMS +35.143s
16 Rafael Villagomez Van Amersfoort Racing +49.792s
17 Kush Maini Virtuosi Racing +51.433s
18 Roman Stanek Trident +55.494s
Ret Ritomo Miyata Rodin Motorsport
Ret Richard Verschoor Trident
Ret Ollie Bearman Prema
Ret Zane Maloney Rodin Motorsport
Fastest lap: Colapinto, 1m17.868s

Championship standings
Aron 115   2 Hadjar 106   3 Bortoleto 85   4 Maloney 75   5 Colapinto 75   6 Crawford 65   7 Hauger 62   8 Maini 52   9 Marti 49   10 Antonelli 48