Nikita Mazepin, Formula 2, Mugello, 2020

Mazepin wins lively feature race as Schumacher takes championship lead

Formula 2

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Nikita Mazepin won a lively feature race from 14th on the grid following a pair of late-race Safety Car periods.

He led home team mate Luca Ghiotto in a one-two for series newcomers Hitech. Behind them Mick Schumacher took the lead of the championship by continuing his run of good form as misfortune struck team mate Robert Shwartzman.

The action began well before the lights went out. Pole winner Christian Lundgaard was waved out of the pits in front of Shwartzman, who brake and was hit from behind by Callum Ilott. Repairs were need to the back of the Prema driver’s car.

Lundgaard, starting the weekend an outsider in the championship 33 points behind leader Callum Ilott, made a good getaway and led fellow front row starter Dan Ticktum by more than a second by the end of lap one.

The main casualty of the start was Ilott, who immediately slipped back from third to seventh place. Luca Ghiotto went the other way, climbing to fourth.

Lundgaard swiftly headed in once the pits open to change to medium tyres from his softs on lap seven. Ghiotto and Ticktum were by this point battling for the lead and for a second it looked as though the race might be decided in the pits, as Ticktum emerged ahead of Ghiotto, the pair still trailling Lundgaard.

Ilott, at this point, had been able to move back to the front and fought Ticktum as soon as Ghiotto had dispatched him for second place. However he lost time behind Roy Nissany, allowing Yuki Tsunoda to overtake him for a net fourth place.

Shwartzman, already having a poor weekend having only qualified ninth during a disrupted session yesterday, retired on lap 18 with mechanical problems potentially related to the pre-race collision. He pulled up at a marshal post and his car was tidied away without disruption.

But when Giuliano Alesi pulled up at another marshal post a few laps later with smoke belching from his car a tractor was required to remove the car from the circuit due to the tight exit space. That meant the Safety Car was summoned, following a brief Virtual Safety Car period.

Lundgaard led after a pre-race incident with Shwartzman
The race restarted on lap 26, with cars heavily bunched, to immediate and chaotic effect. Tsunoda and Ticktum clashed, sending Ticktum into the gravel and down to ninth while Schumacher, Aitken and Guanyu Zhou tangled on the run out of San Donateo as they went three-wide. Both Aitken and Zhou stopped with damage, the former on track and the latter in the gravel, requiring another Safety Car immediately.

During the short green flag period Nikita Mazepin made remarkable progress, weaving through the pack to take third. Having started on the harder rubber, and now on barely-used soft tyres, he suddenly looked in contention for the race win.

By the time there was a restart, with just three laps to go, Lundgaard was seriously suffering on his older tyres and he immediately slipped down the order to an eventual sixth. Mazepin was able to pass second-placed Felipe Drugovich and then rapidly take Hitech team mate Ghiotto to take and hold the lead to the chequered flag.

Ticktum, who ultimately finished 17th and far from the points despite running in podium contention for almost the whole race, expressed extreme frustration several times on the radio: “In terms of how that race could have played out with the Safety Cars and everything and the strategy and everything I could not have been more unlucky,” he complained. “Literally, it couldn’t have been worse. I don’t know what I’m doing in my life to deserve this, I really don’t.”

Schumacher now leads the championship on 153 points, Ilott (who finished 12th) is still in second place with 149 and Shwartzman third with 140. Artem Markelov takes reverse-grid pole for tomorrow’s sprint race after only his second points finish in F2 this year.

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Formula 2 Mugello feature race result

1Nikita Mazepin
2Luca Ghiotto
3Louis Deletraz
4Felipe Drugovich
5Mick Schumacher
6Christian Lundgaard
7Juri Vips
8Artem Markelov
9Marcus Armstrong
10Jehan Daruvala
11Nobuharu Matsushita
12Callum Ilott
13Pedro Piquet
14Marino Sato
15Roy Nissany
16Yuki Tsunoda
17Dan Ticktum
18Guilherme Samaia
19Jack Aitken
20Guanyu Zhou
21Giuliano Alesi
22Robert Shwartzman

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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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    13 comments on “Mazepin wins lively feature race as Schumacher takes championship lead”

    1. I’m not sure what Tsunoda was up to, understeering into two DAMS cars at turn 1 on separate occasions, including his Red Bull stablemate Juri Vips. Vips was lucky to escape without damage, Ticktum less so.

      Also, perhaps we should be worried that the cranes can’t access the track except for only a few points? How does the FIA five Grade 1 certification for this? The hour-long feature race was the longest car race Mugello has played host to, and given we’re gonna break that record with F1 tomorrow, it’s a little worrying how not up-to-speed the recovery vehicles were.

    2. I haven’t been this excited for a f2/gp2 championship in a long time. I hope mick can hang on but there’s a long way to go.

      1. I have an opinion
        13th September 2020, 0:43

        This championship seems to have “faces”, “heels” and high drama, but (unlike pro wrestling) no script.

    3. Great race, bodes well for tomorrow.

      Should get several safety cars tomorrow which will make things more interesting than a Mercedes procession out front.

      Well done to Schumacher taking the lead in the championship. Really shutting some people up.

    4. Give Ticktum a space in Radio 4. What a clown.

      1. Hear hear. I haven’t heard this level of complaining for a long time.

      2. Was thinking that too. Like, his team should have words with him and tell him to quite the constant whining over the radio.

        But then, I couldn’t help wonder if this is some kind of deliberate strategy; he’s certainly getting lots of air time with his radio messages.

    5. Mick was very lucky to get into the points today, considering his low starting position and pretty average pace in the first stint.
      Zhou on the other hand can’t catch a break. Two weekends in a row he has been extremely unlucky. After the SC he could’ve easily won the race, what a shame!
      Tough luck for Ilott and Lundgaard as well. The latter could’ve brought himself right into contention for the title, if there hadn’t been a full SC.

      1. @srga91 I might be wrong but given Zhou was fighting Mick on the restart I think he had already lost 2 places to Mazepin and Deletraz, so even without contact he wouldn’t have been the leading soft runner.

        Regarding Mick’s lack of pace, neither Prema seemed to have much pace (even before Shwartzman’s problem), mirroring their Silverstone performance (high-deg track and hotter conditions). The Virtuosi on the other hand is really quick in race-trim, and is a pole-worthy package in Ilott’s hands.

    6. Hmm, how is Mick leading the championship after mostly being further behind on pace? Maybe he is better than we give him credit for.

      1. He’s just been pretty consistent all season.

        He doesn’t often win, but he manages to get a decent haul of points almost every race, whereas the other front runners have way too many DNFs and non-points finishes. In the last few races, he’s also been showing some pretty impressive racecraft, and I loved the determination in the sprint race at Monza, somehow hanging on to produce a decent finish with a terrible (albeit self-inflicted) flat spot threatening to shake the car to pieces.

        1. Consistency is merely half once you enter F1.

    7. Disliked driver wins again.

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