Start, F2, Red Bull Ring, 2019

Smart strategy nets first feature race win for Matsushita

Formula Two

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Nobuharu Matsushita scored his first F2 feature race win at the Red Bull Ring in a race dominated by tyre degradation.

Nyck de Vries started cleanly from pole position and the championship leader had the initial pace to keep the win. But starting on the soft compound forced him into the pits early, while slower cars which had started on the harder tyre stayed out longer. Matsushita, meanwhile, moved up to second after some canny overtaking on Anthoine Hubert and Guanyu Zhou.

Prema’s Sean Gelael inherited the lead when cars starting on softs pitted and tried to hold onto it, fending off Nikita Mazepin for ten laps. Mazepin passed Gelael on lap 22, locking up heavily as he did so. But with 15 laps remaining it was clear he would not be able to eke out enough of a gap on his original set of tyres to make his mandatory pit stop without losing the lead.

With seven laps to go, De Vries’ tyres looked severely degraded. Matsushita’s Carlin team later claimed they were not expecting to challenge for the win and believed De Vries was actually saving tyres behind Mazepin.

Finally De Vries finally put a move Mazepin, though he was not technically fighting him for position. Luca Ghiotto and Matsushita followed him by. But as De Vries’ tyres faded Matsushita found a way by, and held off Ghiotto for the win.

De Vries at least managed to extended his championship by finishing third. Nicholas Latifi came in ninth, his race wrecked following a spin at the start from contact with teammate Sergio Sette Camara. He was followed in by another title contender, Jack Aikten, who took the final point for tenth.

Ahead of them Jordan King claimed reverse-grid pole position by finishing eighth behind Zhou and Louis Deletraz.

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    Hazel Southwell
    Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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    One comment on “Smart strategy nets first feature race win for Matsushita”

    1. F1oSaurus (@)
      29th June 2019, 21:03

      So Ferrari went with the Nyck de Vries strategy and Mercedes+Red Bull for the “smart” strategy?

      Makes it more likely that Verstappen will pick up another “miracle” win tomorrow. Just like last year the drivers ahead either landed themselves a penalty, had technical difficulties or the wrong strategy (or both)

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