Formula 2 championship leader Frederik Vesti put in a faultless drive to take victory in changeable conditions at Barcelona.
The sprint race started in wet conditions with a rolling start, but it began to dry in the second half of the race. A late safety car allowed the field to dive into the pits, but Vesti mastered both wet and drying conditions to take the victory.
It was a difficult start to the race for Vesti, who was immedietly on the attack against Jak Crawford. The two came together, sending Vesti wide and forcing Crawford to pit with damage.
Vesti maintained second and closed the gap to Amaruy Cordeel ahead. It was a small mistake for Cordeel that allowed Vesti through, a wide moment at Turn 10 providing the perfect opportunity.
Once in the lead of the race, there was little stopping Vesti. The Prema Racing driver continued to extend his gap to the rest of the field while Cordeel struggled to hold off Martins.
By lap eight of 26, drivers were being told to look for wet spots to try to cool their tyres. Six laps later, Kush Maini was asking to gamble and pit for slicks. It wouldn’t be until lap 17 that he got his wish, with Jehan Daruvala and Zane Maloney also coming into the pits.
When the early pitters had gotten heat into their tyres, they had much better pace than the wet tyre runners, but it didn’t appear to be worth the gamble for those in the pits.
The race changed, though, when Juan Manuel Correa found himself in the gravel and unable to get going. A Virtual Safety Car was called, and Theo Pourchaire took the opportunity to come into the pits. Moments later, that became a full safety car, and those that were still on wet tyres jumped to the pit lane.
Vesti emerged at the front of the order, with Victor Martins close behind him. Martins had found a way past Cordeel early on. Cordeel then had a wide moment that allowed Jack Doohan past and brought Ollie Bearman alongside him.
However, it was Dennis Hauger in third when the race resumed, with Pourchaire close behind. Pourchaire had been running at the tail end of the top 10 before coming into the pits.
The ART driver was immediately on the attack, taking Hauger on the restart and passting Martins a few corners later. Vesti had already gained a one second advantage to second, but Pourchaire tried to keep the pressure on him. He wasn’t able to close the gap in the final laps and finished 1.1s back.
Martins took third ahead of Doohan, Richard Verschoor and Bearman.
Cordeel received a five second penalty for exceeding track limits, which he did not take in the pits. He dropped out of the top 10 on the corrected timings.
Ayumu Iwasa picked up eighth after a close battle with Enzo Fittipaldi early in the race. Arthur Leclerc pipped Fittipaldi for P9 on the restart.
The race ended with a collision between Daruvala and Roy Nissany, who were battling at the tail end of the field. Nissany was sent into a spin while Daruvala ended his race in the gravel.
Race result (26 laps)
|2||Theo Pourchaire||ART Grand Prix||+1.104s|
|3||Victor Martins||ART Grand Prix||+4.626s|
|4||Dennis Hauger||MP Motorsport||+5.184s|
|5||Jack Doohan||Virtuosi Racing||+5.661s|
|6||Richard Verschoor||Van Amersfoort Racing||+7.020s|
|12||Isack Hadjar||Hitech GP||+13.951s|
|14||Amaury Cordeel||Virtuosi Racing||+14.657s|
|16||Brad Benavides||PHM by Charouz||+16.922s|
|17||Ralph Boschung||Campos Racing||+20.832s|
|18||Kush Maini||Campos Racing||+1m00.844s|
|19||Jehan Daruvala||MP Motorsport||+1 lap|
|20||Roy Nissany||PHM by Charouz||+1 lap|
|Ret||Juan Manuel Correa||Van Amersfoort Racing|
|Ret||Jak Crawford||Hitech GP|
|Fastest lap: Pourchaire, 1m28.558s