Victor Martins claimed his maiden Formula 2 victory in the feature race at Silverstone, overcoming a time penalty on his way to the top step of the podium.
The ART Grand Prix driver started from pole, but a slow getaway immediately dropped him behind DAMS’ Ayumu Iwasa, who had gone from third to first out of the blocks.
The Alpine junior regained the lead, taking Iwasa’s inside at turn four. But in getting there, he exceeded the track limits on the outside of turn three.
The stewards investigated the action and handed Martins a five-second penalty for gaining a lasting advantage, as they deemed that being alongside Iwasa at that stage was crucial to then making the move in the next corner.
“I had a good temperature in the tyres, I think more than Ayumu and I did a bad start,” Martins said of how he lost the lead at the start. “He was in front into turn one and coming into turn three he braked really early. I knew if I was going around the outside, I will just get the position.
“Honestly I don’t know, I think [that incident] was just not deserving a penalty. Him or me, it was just a racing incident on the first lap. I didn’t have the space to stay on the track, so I went off but by just a bit and then I sent it into turn four, where he also squeezed me.
“That’s how it happened. But honestly, I wasn’t actually thinking about getting a penalty,” he declared.
“At some point my engineer told me ‘we have a mega pace, so let’s try to take a big gap around five seconds’ and I went like ‘what do you mean five seconds? I have a penalty?’.
“He went ‘yeah, yeah, you have a penalty but you are super quick; you will get the gap until the end’.”
Martins’ strong pace meant he did not need to go over the limit to salvage the victory. At the last safety car restart with 10 laps to go, he got his tyres up to temperature to make sure he kept the lead and went on to built a gap of over seven seconds to Rodin Carlin’s Zane Maloney in second place by the finish, which meant he still was the winner by two seconds.
“I felt with the cool temperature today, it was all about getting the tyres ready after every safety car. And honestly, I was just working at my best to keep them warm.
“And then just to push, but I will say not until the limit where you can do small mistakes. I knew I had a great pace and to just keep the consistency throughout 10 laps, I will get the five seconds. I was just pushing, obviously, I was pushing super hard, but I did no mistake and it’s what matters there.”