Enzo Fittipaldi scored his first Formula 2 win after passing Richard Verschoor on the penultimate lap of the Spa-Francorchamps sprint race.
Jehan Daruvala led initially from reversed-grid pole position but had to pit to retire on lap three after his headrest came completely loose and flew out of the car at the Bus Stop chicane.
Fellow front-row starter Verschoor inherited the lead and quickly pulled away following a safety car, building a gap of over two seconds over Fittipaldi.
But Carlin driver Fittipaldi appeared to manage the medium tyres better and rapidly closed back in on Van Amersfoort Racing’s Verschoor in the second half.
Heading into the final two laps, the Red Bull junior got a great run onto the Kemmel straight and could charge past Verschoor for the lead before they got to Les Combes.
Championship rivals Theo Pourchaire and Frederik Vesti both made rocketing starts from sixth and ninth on the grid respectively, to sit third and fourth after Daruvala’s retirement.
Neither had the pace to challenge for the win though. Pourchaire did hold on to complete the podium ahead of Dennis Hauger, but Vesti faded and was passed by Victor Martins and Jack Doohan before the end.
From 16th on the grid, Ayumu Iwasa also launched a late bid to pass Vesti, arriving into the Bus Stop for the final time all locked up. Vesti was forced off track on the exit, where he accelerated back ahead to keep seventh place.
The race start was delayed after debutant Josh Mason had stalled at the beginning of the formation lap, and then driven all the way around to the pits once pushed away by the marshals. He was given a drive-through penalty for this infringement.
Race result (17 laps)
|2||Richard Verschoor||Van Amersfoort Racing||+2.309s|
|3||Theo Pourchaire||ART Grand Prix||+5.125s|
|4||Dennis Hauger||MP Motorsport||+5.903s|
|5||Victor Martins||ART Grand Prix||+6.710s|
|6||Jack Doohan||Virtuosi Racing||+12.784s|
|9||Ralph Boschung||Campos Racing||+16.250s|
|12||Isack Hadjar||Hitech GP||+23.064s|
|14||Roy Nissany||PHM by Charouz||+26.996s|
|15||Jak Crawford||Hitech GP||+27.618s|
|17||Juan Manuel Correa||Van Amersfoort Racing||+31.363s|
|19||Kush Maini||Campos Racing||+57.434s|
|20||Josh Mason||PHM by Charouz||+1m42.400s|
|Ret||Jehan Daruvala||MP Motorsport|
|Ret||Amaury Cordeel||Virtuosi Racing|
|Fastest lap: Verschoor, 2m03.194s