Home Featured Martins overcomes penalty to win F2 feature race as Vesti retires

Martins overcomes penalty to win F2 feature race as Vesti retires

by Steve Whitfield

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

ART Grand Prix’s Victor Martins converted pole into a maiden Formula 2 victory in an incident-filled feature race at Silverstone.

But it wasn’t straightforward for the Alpine junior, who overcame a five-second penalty to edge Rodin Carlin’s Zane Maloney by two-seconds in a race that was disrupted by three safety car periods, with points leader Frederik Vesti among those to retire.

Ayumu Iwasa made a great launch from third on the grid to move in between front-row starters Martins and Kush Maini to lead into Abbey.

Martins squeezed back up the inside of Iwasa into the Loop to reclaim the advantage, with Ollie Bearman trying to pass the pair on the exit before being forced to back out after Martins moved back onto the racing line in front of him.

Iwasa quickly fell away from Martins, who pulled out an early five-second lead, while Jack Doohan and Enzo Fittipaldi resumed their battle from Saturday’s sprint race in fourth and fifth.

Fittipaldi was the first of the leading runners to make his mandatory pitstop at the end of lap six, and moments later the safety car was deployed for the first time after Amaury Cordeel spun to a halt at Stowe.

The majority of the field dived into the pitlane, with Martins emerging from his pitstop in third behind Isack Hadjar and Arthur Leclerc, who both stayed out, with Clement Novalak another on the alternate strategy not to pit.

The safety car was withdrawn at the end of lap 11, but an incident resulted in it being redeployed immediately.

As the cars bunched up for the restart, Dennis Hauger rear-ended Vesti into Roman Stanek, the latter retiring on the spot. Vesti was out shortly afterwards with front-left suspension damage, while Hauger continued after a pitstop to change his front-wing.

The race resumed once more at the halfway stage, with Martins handed a five-second time penalty, having been deemed to have left the track while retaking the lead from Iwasa on the opening lap.

It wasn’t long until the safety car appeared again, with Kush Maini clattering into the back of team-mate Ralph Boschung at Vale was while trying to pass another car, putting both Campos Racing cars out.

Those on the alternate strategy took the opportunity to pit and switch from hard to soft compound tyres, including Hadjar, Leclerc and Novalak.

Leclerc rejoined in fourth behind Martins, Maloney and Theo Pourchaire, while Hadjar was compromised by a slow pitstop that left him towards the rear of the field.

The green flags were shown with 10 laps to go, and Leclerc used his soft tyres to take third from Pourchaire. He then caught Maloney for second, but eventually his tyres faded and he slipped back to fourth behind Pourchaire.

With a penalty to serve, Martins managed to build a decisive five-second lead over Maloney with three laps to go, and then extended that gap by a further two seconds before the chequered flag.

Maloney scored his best result so far with second, while Pourchaire came home third to reduce the deficit to Vesti to six points. Leclerc ran deep while battling Doohan, the DAMS driver losing several places and eventually finishing ninth.

Doohan took fourth ahead of Iwasa, while Bearman was sixth. Jehan Daruvala edged FIttipaldi to seventh by 0.030s, while Jak Crawford finished just behind Leclerc in tenth.

Novalak ran in the top six after the final safety car period, but his soft tyres eventually ran out of grip and he finished 13th.

Race result (29 laps)
Pos Driver Team Time
1 Victor Martins ART Grand Prix 58m54.389s
2 Zane Maloney Carlin +2.051s
3 Theo Pourchaire ART Grand Prix +4.749s
4 Jack Doohan Virtuosi Racing +6.637s
5 Ayumu Iwasa DAMS +12.611s
6 Ollie Bearman Prema +18.225s
7 Jehan Daruvala MP Motorsport +18.933s
8 Enzo Fittipaldi Carlin +18.963s
9 Arthur Leclerc DAMS +24.155s
10 Jak Crawford Hitech GP +24.543s
11 Juan Manuel Correa Van Amersfoort Racing +27.958s
12 Roy Nissany PHM by Charouz +29.777s
13 Clement Novalak Trident +30.610s
14 Brad Benavides PHM by Charouz +30.973s
15 Dennis Hauger MP Motorsport +32.920s
16 Isack Hadjar Hitech GP +34.573s
17 Richard Verschoor Van Amersfoort Racing +34.629s
Ret Ralph Boschung Campos Racing
Ret Kush Maini Campos Racing
Ret Frederik Vesti Prema
Ret Roman Stanek Trident
Ret Amaury Cordeel Virtuosi Racing
Fastest lap: Martins, 1m42.091s

Championship standings
 Vesti 135   2 Pourchaire 129   3 Iwasa 111   4 Bearman 92   5 Martins 88   6 Verschoor 75   7 Doohan 72   8 Fittipaldi 66   9 Hauger 60   10 Maini 49