Ferrari-backed youngster Robert Shwartzman took his second victory this year in FIA Formula 2 championship during Saturday’s Feature Race at the Hungaroring.
The Russian started the race 11th on the grid and gambled on the alternate strategy, running Medium/Soft, while his opponents further ahead on the grid all started on the Softs.
Pole-sitter Callum Ilott kept hold of the lead at the start, with Dan Ticktum and Mick Schumacher moving up to second and third. In contrast, Luca Ghiotto and Guanyu Zhou lost places, dropping down to fifth and eighth.
Drama occurred on Lap 2 at Turn 1, with both Trident drivers Roy Nissany and Marino Sato coming together and terminal damage to their cars brought an end to the Italian team’s race. This was enough for the Safety Car to come out for a lap before racing resumed.
Lap 4 and incidents continued when Ghiotto attempted to fend off Christian Lundgaard for 4th after he got by him at Turn 1 but the two collided before Turn 4, leaving the Danish driver with a broken front wing and a puncture.
The ART driver re-joined the circuit into the path of his team-mate Marcus Armstrong, forcing him to take evasive action and pitching Artem Markelov into the barrier. All three would eventually retire and the Safety Car bunched up the field once more.
Ilott led from Schumacher, followed by Ticktum, who pitted at the earliest time for his mandatory pit stop on Lap 6 as the Safety Car peeled back into the pits to switch the medium compound. Ilott pitted from the lead on the following lap, allowing Schumacher a spell at the head of the pack.
The Brit would re-join ahead of Ticktum, who would later struggle on his new set of tyres. Zhou and Ghiotto stopped at the same time on Lap 10 and would come back out behind Ilott and Ticktum.
Race-leader Schumacher stopped a couple of laps later and his gamble to stay out five laps longer on the softs than Ilott saw him have the tyre grip advantage over him later on.
At the end of Lap 14 with the top five on the alternate strategy, Shwartzman led Nikita Mazepin, Felipe Drugovich, Jehan Daruvala and Guilherme Samaia. Sixth was Ilott in front of Schumacher, Ticktum, Ghiotto and Zhou.
Ghiotto overtakes Ticktum on Lap 16 on the inside into Turn 1, followed by Schumacher’s move on Ilott a couple of laps afterwards. Ticktum’s race went from bad to worse, as Louis Deletraz got by him on Lap 19.
Shwartzman lasted the first stint on his medium compound tyres for 27 laps until pitting with ten laps remaining. He re-joined fifth behind Ghiotto but with softer tyres and much more grip than those ahead of him.
Mazepin was the last to pit on the next lap and would come back out in 11th but was in play for a potential podium.
With nine laps to go, Schumacher led Ilott, Ghiotto, Shwartzman, Zhou, Deletraz, Ticktum, Piquet, Giuliano Alesi and Daruvala making up the top ten.
Shwartzman was the on the attack, as the Ferrari Academy completed a comfortable move on the inside of Ghiotto at Turn 12 for third position before immediately overtaking Ilott on the start-finish straight for second.
A lap later and Shwartzman was on the gearbox of his PREMA team-mate Schumacher and powered his past the German with DRS to put him on course for his second Feature Race win in a row.
Mazepin was also on a charge after qualifying 16th, as sliced his way through the field passing everyone but Shwartzman to eventually come home second by the end of the race.
With a lead of over 15 seconds, the championship leader crossed the line to become the first repeat-winner in F2 in 2020. Mazepin was second, Schumacher third ahead of Ghiotto, who both managed their medium tyres well.
Drugovich was a superb fifth from 18th on the grid and Daruvala in sixth for Carlin. Louis Deletraz in seventh and Callum Ilott in eighth and reverse-grid pole for Sunday’s Sprint Race.
Dan Ticktum was an eventual ninth for DAMS and Guanyu Zhou completed a disappointing day for UNI-Virtuosi in tenth. Nikita Mazepin also got the extra two points for the fastest lap.
Robert Shwartzman’s margin in the Drivers’ Standings has increased to 18 points, meaning whatever happens in the Sprint Race, he will leave Hungary as the Championship leader.
The second race of the F2 weekend begins on Sunday at 10:10 BST.
|1||R. Shwartzman||PREMA Racing||–|
|2||N. Mazepin||Hitech Grand Prix||15.599|
|3||M. Schumacher||PREMA Racing||23.051|
|4||L. Ghiotto||Hitech Grand Prix||32.775|
|5||F. Drugovich||MP Motorsport||36.241|
|7||L. Delétraz||Charouz Racing System||46.191|