Prema’s Ollie Bearman and Frederik Vesti qualified first and second for today’s Formula 2 feature race at Spa-Francorchamps, but rather than make the podium their day ended in disappointment.
Vesti failed to make even the start as he went off at the braking zone of Les Combes on the way to the grid, and lost his championship lead to ART Grand Prix’s Theo Pourchaire, who finished the race in second. The Sauber junior is now 12 points ahead of the Mercedes young driver in the standings.
“I was out of the feature race before it started. I locked the front-right [tyre], then released the brakes and the rear tyres just made wheelspin so I spun and crashed into the barriers,” explained Vesti.
“Very difficult to accept. I’m looking forward to a bit of a holiday now, and to come back in Zandvoort.”
His rookie team-mate Bearman put in an impressive drive to lead the first half of the race and hold off the attacks of Pourchaire. Both pitted on the same lap and a faster stop for Pourchaire moved him into the lead. Then Virtuosi Racing’s Jack Doohan also got ahead of Bearman as the timing of his pitstop aligned with the start of a safety car period.
Bearman lost out to Pourchaire’s team-mate Victor Martins too once racing resumed, but finished the race classified in eighth rather than fourth after being penalised five seconds for being deemed at fault for a collision with Martins.
“Tough race overall and we had a very good pace,” reflected Bearman. “Unfortunately, we got jumped in the pitstops, and I struggled after the safety-car restart to get my brakes in temperature and got attacked by the other drivers.
“The positive is the big step in pace from yesterday so we can be happy about that even if there was a lot other than that today.”
Bearman had finished 12th in Saturday’s sprint race, but he has not fallen away massively from the top of the championship. He remains sixth in the standings, having come into the weeked 59 points back and left it with a margin of 66 points to new leader Pourchaire.