Jehan Daruvala managed to grab P2 in the F2 Sprint race at the Emilia Romagna GP ahead of PREMA team mate Hauger, but couldn’t challenge Armstrong for the Win.
Shorter of the 2 races, the F2 sprint race followed the F1 Sprint on Saturday afternoon. The sprint race being a reverse grid race – where top 10 drivers from qualifying start in reverse order – Carlin’s Logan Sargent, who qualified 10th, lined up on pole position followed by Marcus Armstrong and Jehan Daruvala, who had qualified 9th and 8th on Friday. Daruvala got a brisk start and made his way up to P2 by overtaking polesitter Sargent, who had a poor start and dropped down to P5 by the end of lap 1. Armstrong also got a good start and did just about enough to fend off Daruvala going into turn 1.
Post that, Armstrong controlled the entire race from the lead. An early safety car bunched up the field after lap 1 as Beckmann spun and beached the car, also collecting Novalak in the process, but Armstrong lead a great restart leaving everyone else behind and lead the race till the finish unchallenged. Daruvala did catch up with the Kiwi in the latter stages of the race, but was also closely followed by his PREMA racing teammate Dennis Hauger.
The F2 Feature race was filled with drama, but still lacked the entertainment. The start was chaotic. Polesitter Juri Vips got a good getaway, but Roy Nissany and Ralph Boschung were the ones who took the top 2 spots going into turn 1 after mega starts from P6 and P4.
Last year’s F3 title rivals Jack Doohan and Dennis Hauger made a contact with each other on the start and both were forced to retire, triggering a safety car. Post the restart, polesitter Vips ran wide coming out of the penultimate corner, spun, and crashed out of the race, triggering another safety car. This prompted all the ‘Super Soft’ tyre runners to make their pitstops, with the ‘Medium’ tyre runners staying out. Jehan Daruvala inherited the lead as he had started the race on Mediums, but dropped down the order to finish P9 after his pitstop almost 20 laps later. He is now 3rd in the FIA F2 Championship, 16 points behind the leader.
After his pitstop from the lead, Roy Nissany was looking good for the win but he also had a similar incident to Vips, sending him into the wall. With multiple safety car periods, it was unclear who would finally grab the win with the varying strategies, but even though the lead changed hands multiple times, it wasn’t because of close racing. Post everyone else’s pitstops, Felipe Drugovich lead in the closing stages of the race having not made his mandatory pitstop yet. The best chance for him to score points would be a late safety car which he could utilize to make his pitstop and not drop as low in the order, and the Brazilian managed to do just that under a safety car period in the closing stages of the race.
With the top few drivers now pitted, Theo Pourchaire grabbed the win and with that the championship lead having started 7th, ahead of Enzo Fittipaldi, who earned his first podium after starting all the way down in P15. Ralph Boschung rounded off the podium earning his first top-3 finish of the year.