Richard Verschoor gave Van Amersfoort Racing its first Formula 2 win after a late safety car period turned the feature race on its head at the Red Bull Ring.
Prema’s Frederik Vesti took the lead at the start from the inside of the front row, as Victor Martins made a slow getaway from pole and slipped to third behind ART Grand Prix team-mate Theo Pourchaire.
Martins lost a further couple of spots on lap two, with Kush Maini diving to the inside into turn three and Jack Doohan following him through. Doohan then drove around the outside of Maini at the next corner into third.
Vesti pulled out a four-second lead over Pourchaire, who was the first to make his mandatory stop at the end of lap eight. Maini followed him in, having been passed by both Martins and Enzo Fittipaldi earlier in the lap.
Doohan and Martins both came in next time by, while Vesti stopped at the end of lap 10 and retained the net lead over Pourchaire, the gap albeit reduced to two seconds.
Pourchaire could not keep pace with Vesti and eventually slipped into the clutches of Doohan, who completed a move into turn three.
Fittipaldi led from Verschoor until the latter stages as the pair were on the alternate strategy, and the deployment of the safety car with 12 laps to go gave them the opportunity to pit. The intervention was caused by Arthur Leclerc’s car coming to a stop after shedding its rear-right wheel shortly after leaving the pitlane.
Racing resumed with eight laps to go, with Verschoor immediately using his fresh tyres to climb from fifth to third past Pourchaire and Ayuma Iwasa.
But racing was halted again by a brief virtual safety car period when Maini retired with a front-left puncture.
Pourchaire found himself under pressure from Martins, but the pair were picked off by Prema’s Ollie Bearman – another on fresher tyres – for fifth.
The front four ran nose-to-tail, with Verschoor snatching second from Doohan into turn four, with Iwasa also moving by into third.
On the penultimate lap Verschoor challenged Vesti into turn three, getting the switchback on the exit and then snatching the lead in turn four.
Iwasa soon passed Vesti as well before moving into the slipstream of Verschoor on the final lap. The pair went wheel-to-wheel in the middle of the lap, but it was Verschoor who held on at the chequered flag by 0.415s.
Vesti held onto third ahead of Doohan and Bearman, who climbed from 19th on the grid to fifth. Fittipaldi made up three places after his pitstop to sixth, as Pourchaire slipped back to seventh.
Saturday’s sprint race winner Jak Crawford was eighth for Hitech GP, with Martins and Jehan Daruvala the final two points scorers.
Race result (40 laps)
|1||Richard Verschoor||Van Amersfoort Racing||56m31.050s|
|4||Jack Doohan||Virtuosi Racing||+2.222s|
|7||Theo Pourchaire||ART Grand Prix||+6.714s|
|8||Jak Crawford||Hitech GP||+7.348s|
|9||Victor Martins||ART Grand Prix||+7.971s|
|10||Jehan Daruvala||MP Motorsport||+9.343s|
|11||Dennis Hauger||MP Motorsport||+9.582s|
|12||Isack Hadjar||Hitech GP||+9.915s|
|14||Ralph Boschung||Campos Racing||+13.020s|
|16||Roy Nissany||PHM by Charouz||+15.054s|
|17||Amaury Cordeel||Virtuosi Racing||+17.355s|
|18||Juan Manuel Correa||Van Amersfoort Racing||+17.740s|
|19||Brad Benavides||PHM by Charouz||+20.467s|
|Ret||Kush Maini||Campos Racing|
|Fastest lap: Iwasa, 1m17.575s