Home Featured Shwartzman takes his first F2 win of 2021 in Baku

Shwartzman takes his first F2 win of 2021 in Baku

by Bethonie Waring

Photo: Formula Motorsport Limited

Robert Shwartzman took his first win of the Formula 2 season with a lights-to-flag victory on the streets of Baku.

The Prema driver held off Jehan Daruvala on the opening lap to retain first place from reversed grid pole, then managed a perfectly-timed safety car restart to pull away from the rest of the field.

After the early safety car, Shwartzman was untouchable, gradually built a gap at the front of the order and upped his pace to go for fastest lap points late in the race.

There was drama on the opening lap for a number of drivers, including Shwartzman’s Prema team-mate Oscar Piastri who was involved in a collision with Felipe Drugovich and Liam Lawson.

Hitech GP’s Lawson was knocked into the barriers while Piastri was left with front wing damage and eventually came to a stop. Virtuosi Racing driver Drugovich was later handed a 10-second time penalty for the incident.

A spin for Jack Aitken knocked the HWA driver out on the same lap, while team-mate Alessio Delledda ran up the escape road at turn two and ended his race there.

A full safety car was brought out, giving Daruvala a second opportunity to challenge Shwartzman for the lead. Shwartzman left it until the very last moment to hit the throttle on the restart, giving Daruvala no chance to slipstream past him, and the Carlin driver was left battling Guanyu Zhou behind.

Virtuosi’s Zhou was able to get past Daruvala with DRS assistance, with the charging Dan Ticktum following him past later in the lap.

Zhou wouldn’t hold on to second for long, with Ticktum continuing his climb up the order to take second for Carlin. He wouldn’t be able to move any further forwards, though, as Shwartzman pulled away by five seconds.

Third place for Zhou meant he extended his points lead.

Daruvala managed to hold on to fourth ahead of ART Grand Prix’s Theo Pourchaire, who climbed up the order from seventh on the grid and claimed fastest lap on the final lap, snatching two points from Shwartzman.

Marcus Armstrong had put up a good defence against Pourchaire late in the race, but hadn’t been able to hold him off. Once Pourchaire found a way past, Armstrong came under attack from Ralph Boschung, who also found a way through, and Juri Vips.

Vips and Armstrong ran side-by-side to the chequered flag, but Armstrong just had his nose ahead to take seventh.

David Beckmann and Bent Viscaal completed the top 10, meaning they start on the front row for race two.

Race results (21 laps)
Pos Driver Team Time
1 Robert Shwartzman Prema 44m35.734s
2 Dan Ticktum Carlin +5.144s
3 Guanyu Zhou Virtuosi +8.872s
4 Jehan Daruvala Carlin +10.352s
5 Theo Pourchaire ART Grand Prix +11.039s
6 Ralph Boschung Campos Racing +13.124s
7 Marcus Armstrong DAMS +14.455s
8 Juri Vips Hitech GP +14.524s
9 David Beckmann Charouz Racing System +17.299s
10 Bent Viscaal Trident +17.764s
11 Christian Lundgaard ART Grand Prix +19.738s
12 Richard Verschoor MP Motorsport +21.064s
13 Lirim Zendeli MP Motorsport +21.837s
14 Felipe Drugovich Virtuosi +25.839s
15 Matteo Nannini Campos Racing +35.970s
16 Roy Nissany DAMS +42.471s
17 Guilherme Samaia Charouz Racing System +49.289s
18 Marino Sato Trident +1m31.300s
Ret Oscar Piastri Prema
Ret Liam Lawson Hitech GP
Ret Jack Aitken HWA Racelab
Ret Alessio Deledda HWA Racelab
Fastest lap: Pourchaire, 1m56.928s

Championship standings

1 Zhou 78   2 Pourchaire 55   3 Piastri 52   4 Ticktum 50   5 Shwartzman 45   6 Lawson 40   7 Daruvala 37   8 Drugovich 29   9 Boschung 26   10 Vips 23