Nicholas Latifi clinches victory in chaotic Azerbaijan sprint race
DAMS' Nicholas Latifi clinched victory in the Azerbaijan sprint race after a chaotic afternoon on the streets of Baku, filled with collisions and Safety Car appearances.
Latifi had initially started fifth on the grid and used his experience to bide his time and make up positions in the early laps, eventually passing Prema's Sean Gelael for the lead into Turn 3 on lap six.
As the race went on, the safety car made more appearances due to clashes further down the field, but the Canadian held his nerve and maintained his place at the front to take his second win of the season. He also assumes the lead in championship standings.
Charouz's Juan Manuel Correa secured his best finish in his first Formula 2 season with second place, the American driver came under immense pressure during the penultimate safety car restart from the charging Jack Aitken and locked up heavily into Turn 1.
Despite locking up, he made the first corner and was able to fend off Aitken for third at the chequered flag.
Aitken began the race in eighth and made moves through the field, the British driver complained about a DRS failure on his Campos which appeared to hinder his progress to try and win the race.
ART's Nyck De Vries had snatched the final podium spot from Aitken prior to the final safety car but was unable to hold on to it, eventually settling for a fourth-place finish.
Mick Schumacher began the race from the back row of the grid, but an inspired drive through the field to claim his best finish in Formula 2 in fifth, snatching the spot from team-mate Sean Gelael on the final lap into Turn 1.
Sergio Sette Camara also pushed his way through the pack to take sixth place ahead of the second Campos of Dorian Boccolacci and Gelael to round out the points paying positions.
Geleal managed to get a superb launch away from his grid slot in third place to lead the race early on, but braking stability issues meant he couldn't hold onto it and fell down the field.
Callum Ilott missed out on his first F2 points by the narrowest margin of 0.005s as Gelael out-dragged the British driver to the finish line. Uni Virtuosi's Guan Yu Zhou rounded out the top 10.
The major incident of the race came after a crash at Turn 2 which forced the race to go to time and almost ended proceedings prematurely after Luca Ghiotto tapped the back of Aitken's car, forcing the Italian into the outside barrier.
ART's Nikita Mazepin and MP Motorsport's Jordan King were also caught out and ended up in the same barrier which left the marshals with a lot of work to do.
The first safety car of the afternoon came on the first lap where three cars were also caught in a clash at Turn 1 after BWT Arden's Tatiana Calderon locked up on the inside and collided with Carlin's Louis Deletraz and the Trident of Ralph Boschung.
Formula 2's next event will be in Barcelona, Spain on May 10-12.