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Lawson takes comfortable win in Spa F2 sprint race

by Steve Whitfield

Photo: Red Bull Content Pool

Carlin’s Liam Lawson took his third Formula 2 sprint race triumph of the season, dominating Saturday’s encounter at Spa-Francorchamps despite a mid-race safety car period.

Having climbed from the third row of the grid to second into La Source at the start behind Ralph Boschung, who converted pole into the lead, Lawson swept past the Campos driver approaching Les Combes on lap two.

Behind them Trident’s Richard Verschoor came out on top in a three-way battle on the Kemmel Straight on the opening lap with Jack Doohan and Theo Pourchaire to retain third.

Boschung initially remained within a second of Lawson, who struggled early on with his rear tyres, but the Kiwi eventually pulled over four seconds clear, while Doohan used DRS to breeze past Verschoor.

The safety car was deployed on lap 11 of 18 after Carlin’s Logan Sargeant emerged unscathed from a high-speed crash exiting Pouhon while running ninth.

Lawson immediately pulled out a 2.5s advantage once racing resumed with five laps remaining, and extended his winning margin to 3.868s by the chequered flag.

Boschung was pipped to second on the final lap by Doohan, who moved around the outside into Les Combes.

Points leader Felipe Drugovich pitted from sixth during the safety car period, as did several drivers behind him, to switch from hard to soft compound tyres. The MP Motorsport driver climbed from 12th at the restart to steal fifth from title rival  Pourchaire with one lap to go at the chicane.

After passing Verschoor for fourth on the final tour, Drugovich missed out on a podium spot to Boschung by less than a second at the finish.

Hitech’s Marcus Armstrong came home seventh ahead of Van Amersfoort Racing’s David Beckmann and DAMS’s Ayuma Iwasa.

Prema’s Dennis Hauger was another to pit for softs and finished 10th. Team-mate Jehan Daruvala was due to start the race from second but pulled off with an issue on the way to the grid.

Race result (18 laps)
Pos Driver Team Time
1 Liam Lawson Carlin 40m22.343s
2 Jack Doohan Virtuosi +3.868s
3 Ralph Boschung Campos Racing +5.718s
4 Felipe Drugovich MP Motorsport +6.360s
5 Richard Verschoor Trident +8.407s
6 Theo Pourchaire ART Grand Prix +8.686s
7 Marcus Armstrong Hitech GP +9.422s
8 David Beckmann Van Amersfoort Racing +10.065s
9 Ayumu Iwasa DAMS +10.833s
10 Dennis Hauger Prema +11.134s
11 Roy Nissany DAMS +11.615s
12 Marino Sato Virtuosi +14.089s
13 Enzo Fittipaldi Charouz Racing System +15.801s
14 Juri Vips Hitech GP +16.393s
15 Frederik Vesti ART Grand Prix +16.767s
16 Calan Williams Trident +17.669s
17 Clement Novalak MP Motorsport +18.553s
18 Amaury Cordeel Van Amersfoort Racing +18.594s
19 Tatiana Calderon Charouz Racing System +19.044s
20 Lirim Zendeli Campos Racing +23.207s
Ret Logan Sargeant Carlin  
Ret Jehan Daruvala Prema  
Fastest lap: Lawson, 2m01.740s

Championship standings
Drugovich 187   2 Pourchaire 162   3 Sargeant 119   4 Fittipaldi 100   5 Lawson 99   6 Doohan 96   7 Daruvala 94   8 Vesti 91   9 Iwasa 90   10 Vips 85