Williams Formula 1 reserve driver Nicholas Latifi extended his Fomrula 2 championship lead by winning the Baku sprint race, handling two safety car restarts.
Latifi first took the lead from Sean Gelael, who emerged from Turn 1 of the opening lap in first place after passing poleman Nikita Mazepin, who later said there was something “wrong” with his throttle at the start.
Mazepin had inherited pole after Luca Ghiotto received a five-second penalty for contact with Sergio Sette Camara in the feature race, which left him ninth on the grid for race two.
Gelael spent five laps in the lead before Latifi passed down the inside of Turn 1, and established a lead of around three seconds before the first safety car appearance on lap nine of 19.
Giuliano Alesi?s had ended his race in the barriers at Turn 3 after passing Guan Yu Zhou with the use of DRS, but then locking up his left-front tyre.
Latifi maintained the lead when racing restarted four laps later, switching back from the outside of the corner to the natural inside on Sauber junior Juan Manuel Correa after he locked up his left-rear tyre at Turn 1.
The safety car would return just moments later as Campos Racing’s Jack Aitken put his car to the right of a vulnerable Correa out of Turn 2, being unable to pass around the outside, but received a tap from Ghiotto. The Virtuosi Racing driver?also crashed into the barriers at Turn 3, with Nikita Mazepin and Jordan King stopping at the same spot.
Nearly 10 minutes was spent removing the cars before a two-lap shootout for the win. Latifi wasn’t threatened though, and after picking up the points lead in the feature race he extended it to 19 points over Aitken, who finished third.
Correa claimed his first F2 podium in second, with Aitken completing the podium after passing ART Grand Prix’s Nyck de Vries on the penultimate lap.
Mick Schumacher passed Prema team-mate Gelael moments after Aitken?s move, with Sergio Sette Camara and Dorian Boccolacci making late moves past the Indonesian.
Gelael held off Callum Ilott for eighth in the last metres of the race, with the two crossing the line side-by-side.
Race results (19 laps)
|2||Juan Manuel Correa||Sauber Junior Team by Charouz||+0.961s|
|3||Jack Aitken||Campos Racing||+1.521s|
|4||Nyck de Vries||ART Grand Prix||+2.602s|
|6||Sergio Sette Camara||DAMS||+4.060s|
|7||Dorian Boccolacci||Campos Racing||+6.503s|
|9||Callum Ilott||Sauber Junior Team by Charouz||+7.729s|
|10||Guan Yu Zhou||Virtuosi Racing||+9.293s|
|11||Anthoine Hubert||Arden International||+11.074s|
|13||Mahaveer Raghunathan||MP Motorsport||+17.584s|
|Ret||Luca Ghiotto||Virtuosi Racing|
|Ret||Jordan King||MP Motorsport|
|Ret||Nikita Mazepin||ART Grand Prix|
|Ret||Tatiana Calderon||Arden International|
|Fastest lap: Ghiotto