Luca Ghiotto held on to score Hitech GP’s first Formula 2 win by just 0.4 seconds after all of his rivals pitted in an unusually strategic sprint race at the Hungaroring.
Following on from the difficulties drivers faced on the medium 18-inch tyres in the feature race, the majority opted for a mid-race pitstop for a change of rubber.
From reversed-grid pole position, Callum Ilott kept the lead at the start and opened up a 3.5-second lead over Ghiotto, who came from fifth on the grid to pass Louis Deletraz for second place.
On the medium tyres, Ilott maintained his advantage over Ghiotto through the first half of the race, but opted to pit for soft tyres at the end of lap 17 after starting to lose time.
Ilott lost time in the pits after his front-left tyre was slow to come off but still rejoined ahead of Mick Schumacher – who had pitted out of third place a lap earlier – as well as Deletraz, who had switched from softs to mediums after 13 laps.
Virtuosi driver Ilott also then ran wide at Turn 2 on his cold tyres, but from there on took around four seconds out of Ghiotto on every lap, reducing a deficit of around 40 seconds.
When Ilott’s pace dropped on the penultimate lap, Ghiotto looked safe taking a 5.9s advantage into the final tour, only to lock up and run wide at Turn 1.
That helped Ilott to catch up with Ghiotto in the final sector, closing onto his tail in the last corner, but the F2 veteran just held on.
Schumacher repeated his feature race result of third place, finishing 11 seconds behind fellow Ferrari junior Ilott.
Prema driver Schumacher had also suffered a slow pitstop and rejoined behind Deletraz, and team-mate Robert Shwartzman briefly jumped both after his stop a lap later, only to drop back on cold tyres.
Nikita Mazepin, who had gone from seventh to fourth at the start, pitted one lap after Shwartzman and rejoined ahead, but Shwartzman was able to get past to finish fourth despite wheel-to-wheel contact sending him wide at Turn 5.
Deletraz dropped back to finish sixth just ahead of Jehan Daruvala, who deployed the same strategy of starting on the soft tyres. Guanyu Zhou took the final point in eighth with Marcus Armstrong ninth on a strong recovery from the back of the grid. Giuliano Alesi was the only other driver not to pit and ended up 10th.
Dan Ticktum made a fast start to get up to fifth from ninth on the grid, but slowed with an engine issue on lap two and ultimately retired.
Race results (28 laps)
|1||Luca Ghiotto||Hitech Grand Prix||45m04.725s|
|2||Callum Ilott||Virtuosi Racing||+0.423s|
|5||Nikita Mazepin||Hitech Grand Prix||+15.152s|
|6||Louis Deletraz||Charouz Racing System||+23.451s|
|8||Guanyu Zhou||Virtuosi Racing||+32.230s|
|9||Marcus Armstrong||ART Grand Prix||+34.275s|
|10||Giualiano Alesi||HWA Racelab||+39.283s|
|11||Nobuharu Matsushita||MP Motorsport||+42.731s|
|13||Christian Lundgaard||ART Grand Prix||+46.926s|
|14||Artem Markelov||HWA Racelab||+51.733s|
|15||Pedro Piquet||Charouz Racing System||+52.231s|
|16||Felipe Drugovich||MP Motorsport||+55.890s|
|19||Jack Aitken||Campos Racing||+75.656s|
|20||Marino Sato||Trident||+ 83.059s|
|21||Guilherme Samaia||Campos Racing||+ 1 lap|
|22||Dan Ticktum||DAMS||+ 5 laps|
|Fastest lap: Zhou, 1m30.969s