Nicholas Latifi extends championship lead after Spanish feature race win
DAMS' Nicholas Latifi extended his championship lead after putting in a storming drive to claim his third win of the 2019 Formula 2 season in a closely fought race at Spain's Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona.
The Canadian, who started from second place on the grid, kept himself out of trouble on the first lap which saw several clashes throughout the field, most notably involving pole-sitter Luca Ghiotto.
Latifi made his move for the race win late on after hunting down UNI-Virtuosi's Guanyu Zhou for what would eventually become the outright lead, passing the Chinese driver in a stunning move around the outside of Turn 1 on lap 31 and would remain unchallenged until the chequered flag.
Campos Racing's Jack Aitken made a stunning start from eighth on the grid following a three-place penalty handed down from qualifying. The British driver made up several positions on the opening lap after going around the outside of three drivers en route to Turn 1.
Aitken then battled with the ART of Nyck De Vries during the pitstop phase but his outright pace allowed him to pick off Zhou in the latter stages of the race to finish second.
Zhou made a superb getaway from his third place grid slot and roared into the lead of the race, he was then able to lead for most of the 37 laps, but was unable to fend off Latifi's charge and then Aitken and had to settle for the final spot on the podium.
Luca Ghiotto's race is a case of what could have been, after a messy getaway from pole position, he fell down the field and was then hit at Turn 10 by Dorian Boccolacci, forcing the Italian to pit for a new nose and set of tyres under safety car conditions.
Due to making that stop before lap six, he still had to make another mandatory stop under the regulations. Despite losing so much time after not being able to catch back up to the rest of the field, he was able to put in a superlative performance to finish in fourth, just seconds off the race lead.
De Vries pushed hard throughout the race but couldn't keep pace with his rivals in front and had to settle for fifth.
Anthoine Hubert utilised the alternate strategy to maximum use from 15th place on the grid, putting on a late charge in his BWT Arden to claim sixth place at the end with MP Motorsport's Jordan King just behind in seventh.
Callum Ilott will start Sunday's sprint race from pole-position after finishing the feature race in eighth place, Prema's Sean Gelael and Ralph Boschung for Trident round out the top 10 respectively.
DAMS' Sergio Sette Camara endured a terrible race after speeding in the pit lane twice as well as having problems with the car.
Mick Schumacher also suffered a difficult afternoon after getting tagged by Carlin's Nobuhara Matsushita on the opening lap causing him a puncture, he would then later clash with Charouz's Juan Manuel Correa after making his mandatory pit stop on lap 29, causing further damage to his Prema.
Sunday's sprint race will get underway at 11:30am local time.