Start, F2 sprint race, Sochi Autodrom, 2019

Ghiotto wins F2 sprint race after lengthy red flag

Formula Two

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Luca Ghiotto won a shortened Formula 2 sprint race Sochi which was stopped following a heavy crash between Nikita Mazepin and Nobuharu Matsushita at the start.

Mazepin had taken reverse-grid pole, with Jack Aitken alongside him and Matsushita in third.

Mazepin ran wide at turn two, forcing Aitken wide as well. The pair made contact as Mazepin bypassed part of the route back onto the circuit, which fired the ART driver across the track and into Matsushita, putting both into the barriers.

During the lengthy red flag wperiod which followed both drivers emerged from their cars and were transferred to hospital. The championship confirmed neither sustained any fractures. A restart was scheduled for 12:15 local time, with the race distance cut by six laps to 15.

Aitken’s delay due to the first-lap collision meant the restart was led by Luca Ghiotto, Callum Ilott and newly-minted champion Nyck De Vrie. Ghiotto made a clean restart while De Vries and Ilott battled for second, De Vries eventually coming out on top after several exchanges.

Sergio Sette Camara passed DAMS teammate Nicholas Latifi for fourth, behind them and earned himself a five-second penalty for running wide at turn two in the process – a ruling he vigorously disputed on the radio.

Mick Schumacher retired for the second time in as many races, coming into the pits on lap eight following a wheel-banging battle with Giuliano Alesi.

By lap 10, De Vries was within half a second of Ghiotto, but even with DRS was unable to close the gap and despite a relentless attack by De Vries he was able to take the chequered flag. Ferrari junior Ilott took the final podium place behind them, with Latifi, Zhou, Sette Camara, Gelael and Alesi the other points scorers.

While De Vries has already pocketed the title, Latifi and Ghiotto are on course for a maximum haul of superlicence points from the season providing they hold on to their respective second and third places in the championship. However Sette Camara and Aitken remain in striking distance going into the final round in Abu Dhabi. That contest may also be affected by the outcome of the investigation into the first-lap collision between Mazepin, Aitken and Matsushita.

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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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