Felipe Drugovich took his first Formula 2 victory since Monaco in a dramatic feature race at Zandvoort to move within nine points of the title.
The championship leader survived three safety cars and a red flag period to come out more than a second ahead of Richard Verschoor. His closest title rival Theo Pourchaire finished 10th, with Logan Sargeant and Jack Doohan both crashing out of contention.
Sargeant was the first driver to bring out the safety car. The Williams academy driver started third but a slight lock up at the first corner sent him through the gravel and down into the midfield. Then, on the approach to turn seven he made slight contact with the rear of Ralph Boschung’s car, damaging his front suspension and sending him into the barriers at speed.
The safety car was brought out before the red flag was thrown for barrier repairs.
Drugovich had held onto the race lead ahead of Doohan on the opening lap, with Dennis Hauger being promoted to third.
When racing resumed, Drugovich held onto the lead, but Doohan stayed close behind. The Virtuosi driver attempted a move, only to lock up and drop back shortly before the pit sequence.
Hauger was one of the early pitters, a strategy which didn’t work out for the Prema driver and he dropped out of contention for the victory after the pit sequence shook out. Verschoor moved into the fight at the front and briefly took second after he leapfrogged Doohan in the pits but Doohan, whose tyres were already up to temperature, managed to quickly get back ahead. Drugovich retained the net lead.
There were still a number of drivers yet to pit and Liam Lawson was leading the field when Marino Sato hit the wall, prompting the second safety car. Sato’s left front tyre hadn’t been fitted properly in his pitstop and he was unable to control the car.
Racing resumed on lap 22, but the track wouldn’t remain green for long. Lawson went for a late restart which seemed to catch out a number of drivers. Doohan was hit from behind by Verschoor and sent spinning into the wall. Clement Novalak and Tatiana Calderon were also caught up in incidents and retired in the pits.
With drivers unable to pit under the safety car, Lawson and those at the front of the field had to wait until the track went green again before diving into the pits for their mandatory pit stops.
When the pitstop sequence eventually finished, it was Drugovich back at the front of the order, more than a second ahead of Verschoor. Verschoor couldn’t keep pace with Drugovich and the championship leader finished 2.4s clear of the rest of the field.
Iwasa took third ahead of Hauger and Enzo Fittipaldi, one of the biggest movers in the field.
Amaury Cordeel finished sixth to take his first points finish of the season ahead of Juri Vips, who had a difficult opening lap and spent the remainder of the race recovering.
There was drama early on for David Beckmann and Roy Nissany, who had been racing side by side when the first safety car was called. They were having a discussion about their positions when they made slight contact behind the safety car, and Beckmann was forced to pit with damage to his front wing.
Despite the early incident, Beckmann came through to finish eighth, ahead of Olli Caldwell and Pourchaire, who pipped Jehan Daruvala for the final points paying position late on with soft tyres.
After leading for a good portion of the race, the late pitstop meant Lawson would only finish 13th.
Race result (38 laps)
|1||Felipe Drugovich||MP Motorsport||1h25m22.484s|
|5||Enzo Fittipaldi||Charouz Racing System||+7.987s|
|6||Amaury Cordeel||Van Amersfoort Racing||+10.872s|
|7||Juri Vips||Hitech GP||+12.400s|
|8||David Beckmann||Van Amersfoort Racing||+13.190s|
|9||Olli Caldwell||Campos Racing||+14.609s|
|10||Theo Pourchaire||ART Grand Prix||+15.562s|
|14||Marcus Armstrong||Hitech GP||+25.601s|
|16||Frederik Vesti||ART Grand Prix||+29.385s|
|17||Ralph Boschung||Campos Racing||+50.639s|
|Ret||Tatiana Calderon||Charouz Racing System|
|Ret||Clement Novalak||MP Motorsport|
|Fastest lap: Vesti, 1m23.078s