Home Featured Vesti stays out of trouble to win Jeddah’s F2 feature race

Vesti stays out of trouble to win Jeddah’s F2 feature race

by Alejandro Alonso Lopez

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Frederik Vesti claimed the victory in a hectic Formula 2 feature race in Jeddah after mistakes left Prema team-mate Ollie Bearman and ART Grand Prix’s Victor Martins out of contention.

From sixth on the grid, the Vesti overtook Jehan Daruvala and DAMS’ Ayumu Iwasa in the opening lap, and stayed out of trouble to bound back from a difficult start to his 2023 season. Virtuosi Racing’s Jack Doohan and MP’s Daruvala completed the podium.

Bearman led at the first corner after a slow getaway from Martins, who covered Doohan well to only drop a place.

The virtual safety car was deployed on lap two to recover the PHM Racing by Charouz car of Brad Benavides from the run-off of turn one. Virtuosi’s Amaury Cordeel hit the front-left wheel of Benavides under braking, forcing the American to retire from the race. Cordeel was handed a 10-second time penalty for the action.

The track went green again one lap later with Bearman opening a two-second gap to Martins, who was under pressure from Doohan and Vesti.

Several drivers headed into the pitlane as the pit window opened by the end of lap six. Among those were Doohan and Vesti, who had dropped back off Martins in the previous lap. A perfect change from Prema’s crew allowed Vesti to move ahead of his rival.

Bearman and Martins pitted the following lap and came out comfortably ahead of Doohan and Vesti.

On lap 10, Martins went for a move on Bearman around the outside of turn one.  The latter defended, which resulted in Martins going off the track to complete the manoeuvre and therefore having to give the place back.

Martins passed Bearman in the main straight on the following lap, but went slightly wide, allowing Bearman to try to regain the spot around the outside of turn two. Martins squeezed him into the outside kerb and Vesti took advantage of it to get past his team-mate Bearman who started to fall back before losing the control of his car at the apex of turn 22. However, he avoided the wall and rejoined having only lost three places.

One lap later, virtual leader Martins faced similar fortune between corners four and five. He hit the outside wall with the rear of his car and had to retire. Vesti was then first of those who had already boxed, followed by Doohan and Daruvala, as the virtual safety car was deployed for a second time.

Alternate strategy leader Arthur Leclerc came in for supersoft tyres with five laps remaining. A slow stop meant he lost part of the advantage he had earned by starting on the medium compound. He rejoined in ninth place, just behind Bearman, and finished the race in eighth.

Having started 14th and 15th, Rodin Carlin’s Enzo Fittipaldi and MP’s Dennis Hauger came back through the field to finish in seventh and fifth place respectively. In between them was Van Amersfoort Racing’s Richard Verschoor, who had pitted earlier than Leclerc in the alternate strategy.

Hitech GP’s Isack Hadjar and Ollie Bearman rounded off the top 10, with ART GP’s Theo Pourchaire classified in 13th place in what was a weekend to forget.

Race result (28 laps)

Pos Driver Team Time
1 Frederik Vesti Prema 50m45.587s
2 Jack Doohan Virtuosi +3.959s
3 Jehan Daruvala MP Motorsport +7.546s
4 Ayumu Iwasa DAMS +11.379s
5 Dennis Hauger MP Motorsport +11.712s
6 Richard Verschoor Van Amersfoort Racing +14.014s
7 Enzo Fittipaldi Carlin +14.220s
8 Arthur Leclerc DAMS +17.012s
9 Isack Hadjar Hitech GP +21.646s
10 Ollie Bearman Prema +23.910s
11 Roy Nissany PHM by Charouz +28.854s
12 Kush Maini Campos Racing +29.731s
13 Theo Pourchaire ART Grand Prix +31.238s
14 Roman Stanek Trident +32.019s
15 Jak Crawford Hitech GP +32.973s
16 Clement Novalak Trident +36.131s
17 Zane Maloney Carlin +37.076s
18 Juan Manuel Correa Van Amersfoort Racing +40.339s
19 Ralph Boschung Campos Racing +47.097s
20 Amaury Cordeel Virtuoi +1m31.499s
Ret Victor Martins ART Grand Prix
Ret Brad Benavides PHM by Charouz
Fastest lap: Leclerc, 1m43.647s

Championship standings
1 Boschung 33   2 Pourchaire 32   3 Iwasa 31   4 Vesti 28   5 Daruvala 24   6 Doohan 20   7 Hauger 19   8 Verschoor 19   9 Maini 18   5 Martins 17   10 Martins 17