Tsunoda wins feature race as F2 title fight goes down to final race

Formula 2

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Yuki Tsunoda won the final F2 feature race of the year thanks to a late pass on Nikita Mazepin for the lead.

But Callum Ilott kept his hopes of beating Mick Schumacher to the championship alive by leading his fellow Ferrari Driver Academy member home on the Bahrain Outer circuit.

Tsunoda bounced back from a disastrous first weekend in Bahrain, which saw him slip from third to fifth in the championship, by taking pole position and a vital four points yesterday. He started alongside Mazepin, though the Hitech driver’s 2021 Haas team mate Schumacher was mired in 18th after colliding with Roy Nissany in qualifying.

Schumacher’s team mate Robert Shwartzman, an outsider in the five-way title fight, started fourth alongside Tsunoda’s Carlin team mate Jehan Daruvala. Ilott, the closest threat to Schumacher in the standings, only managed ninth on the grid, and trailled his rival by 14 points before the lights went out.

Tsunoda’s pole advantage slipped away at turn one
Mazepin and Shwartzman made the best starts and demoted Tsunoda at turn one, leaving the Carlin driver struggling down the order. Christian Lundgaard, who lined up sixth, stalled on the grid. That helped Artem Markelov, following his best qualifying performance of the year, to briefly surge to fourth from seventh.

Schumacher, starting on hard tyres while most others preferred softs, made swift progress on lap one as usual. He had moved up five places to 13th by lap three. By the time the soft tyre starters were beginning to pit the Prema driver was right behind Ilott for fifth place. Ilott pitted on lap 17, gifting Schumacher the place and allowing him to continue his charge up the order.

Tsunoda jumped both Mazepin and Shwartzman in the pit stops but was unable to hold them off while his tyres warmed, dropping to a net third as they collectively fought up the order. Meanwhile the drivers who had started on hards were involved in a game of chicken as to how early they dared to switch to softs.

Tsunoda made an attempt at passing Shwartzman for second place into turn one on lap 36 but was forced to abort it as Lundgaard emerged from the pits. However he made the move stick with another attempt at turn four.

Tsunoda and Mazepin then renewed their fight for the lead from Spa, with just as much controversy. Tsunoda mae it through after Mazepin pushed him into the pit exit, an incident the stewards are investigating.

Guannyu Zhou’s best attempts to catch up in the final laps couldn’t stop Tsunoda but allowed him to build a gap to Mazepin to seal second, despite a five-second penalty for speeding in the pit lane. Mazepin found himself duelling with Drugovich for third as both ran off the track repeatedly. On the final lap Mazepin forced Drugovich to the inside approaching turning four, the MP driver wiping out a braking mark board, leading to a further post-race investigation.

Behind Tsunoda, Zhou, Mazepin and Drugovich came Shwartzman and Ilott, However Schumacher, seventh, snatched the bonus points for fastest lap, meaning he and Ilott came away with eight each, leaving the gap as it had been coming in to this weekend. There are up to 17 points available in tomorrow’s sprint race and as things stand Schumacher will start second with Ilott immediately behind him.

Tsunoda reclaimed third in the standings on 186 points behind Ilott on 199 and Schumacher on 213. Although his title hopes are over he is now set to secure the superlicence qualification which could hand him an F1 debut with AlphaTauri next year.

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

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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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    26 comments on “Tsunoda wins feature race as F2 title fight goes down to final race”

    1. It was dangerous driving from Mazepin to me. Especially in the start-finish straight at least twice.

      1. He made that move at least three times! If there’s no penalty for this that’s the real scandal. It’s nice having someone to root for in F1, but I’ll definitely have someone to be against. Lance Stroll, but without manners and with mean, bullish character (plus daddy who’s an oligarch stealing from his nation and financing all this). What’s not to like.

      2. And down to turn 4 near the end… it’ shocking FIA did nothing.

      3. Yep, way too aggressive against the pit wall, definitely deserves at least one penalty. The move(s) down to T4 reminded me of Hamilton vs Rosberg there.

      4. The stewards should have penalized him immediately after the race and they didn’t. Bring VAR to F1.

    2. Late-race desperation kicking in of course, but that was absolutely disgusting defensive driving from Mazepin. Particular the moves on the straight up to turn 4 (mere meters down the road from Grosjean’s horror crash, no less). Sincerely hope for other’s sake he doesn’t bring that driving into F1.

      Cracker of a race though and hats off to Tsunoda yet again!

    3. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
      5th December 2020, 13:56

      Can’t wait to see Mazepin pull actions like that off in Formula 1 next year and get absolutely wrecked by other drivers, the FIA and the media.

    4. Was I the only one that got flashbacks from Grosjean crash when in the first laps at the same exact place someone tried to go right across over Schumacher and thankfully he managed to swerve right quick enough to avoid contact?

      1. Nope, you were not the only one :)

      2. @t-a-r Yeah me too. Was it Alesi in the MP?

        1. Not sure mate, sorry. Have been busy rearranging the livingroom and watching racing but this moment caught my eye and commentators never said anything about it. It was so close :O

        2. it was nissany who felt he could overtake the car in front of him, probably didn’t see mick..but mick had a lightning fast reaction to avoid a collision there..

          mazepin – wow, that was over the line!! if he does not get a penalty for his driving then i don’t know. on the other hand if he got a 5 second penalty he would probably finish 8th and have pole tomorrow. wonder if that wouldn’t be even worse..

    5. Goodbye Kvyat, but I hope Mazepin wouldn’t drive like he did at Haas.

    6. Ambrogio Isgro
      5th December 2020, 14:06

      Tsunoda showed once again he deserve to be in F1 next year.

    7. Tsunoda should buy Lundgaard a drink, he really helped him today.

    8. Mazepin thinks he’s gonna make a surname all elbows out on track, he’s appalling, dirty and dangerous. Not the first time.

      1. If F1 had VAR, VAR would black flag him.

        1. We do have and hence he got punished.

          1. And for me, I didn’t find the time penalty enough…

    9. this race was absolutely awesome!! kept me on my toes until the last corner..

      and so surprised there was no safety car!

      1. +1

        I have been quite “disconnected” as I have benn not in the best mood, missed out almost the whole first lap, and my stream also had some problems with being continuous at the start, but, seeing these cars’ maneuverability, and the three-wides, and agressive peeks from behind on the main straight from many were more than enough to bring the joy. And there were many other amazing moments added to these aforementioned elements of F2’s “standard”. Tsunoda hunted them down, Schumacher made a nice recovery, Shwartzman unusually went quite much backwards at the second half of the race, but he had very enjoyable battles against Tsunoda.

        How interesting this championship became. After the apparently silksmooth win for Zhou (who was considered a great title contender by that tim) denied by a tech problem at the opening race, he is still waiting for his maiden victory at feature races. Then Shwartzaman looked like an obvious champion for a long while. Then Tsunoda showed how much bad luck he had at the first races, and how fast he is. Then Drugovich showed up with a good amount of nice performances at the recent races.

        And I inentionally omitted so much, because the list would be endless. If the organizers would manage to keep up this hardness of the field it would remain a very valuable and similarly entertaining class for at least some years. That would require events like : “saving the likes of Ilott from being sidelined”, “bring the likes of Vips and Pourchaire up to the series”, of course at the cost of some paydrivers :) It’s interesting, and sad to hear the Ilott will probably be out of F2 because he has financial problems, this hints me, that these F2 teams are basically quite powerless financially compared to the level they are participating at. Such experienced and/or good competitors should remain there even if they are not makeing it to F1, because that would make the feeder series and their titles more valuable in many aspects.

    10. Mazepin is an atrocious person in both on and off the track.

    11. It’s makes me really angry that the FIA did nothing when Mazepin is driving like that. We had a massive crash in F1 last weekend, they claim they’ll do everything to make it as safe as possible yet allow that! Disgraceful!
      That man has no place in F1 with antics like that. You do not put people into the wall at 180mph (the turn 4 one was bad enough). He put Tsunoda so far off the track that he’d gone past the pit lane entrance! Because your dad is a Russian Billionaire, apparently the FIA will let you do whatever you want

      1. I guess two time penalties are now “being allowed to do whatever you want.”

    12. I agree with the sentiment that Mazepin was without a doubt driving dangerously. He should have received a penalty three times over. If not for his defense on the the front straight that almost put Drugovich into the wall and Tsunoda into a car exiting the pit lane, then surely for forcing Drugovich so far off track that he hit the foam braking marker. I’m amazed that he got away with driving like that.

    13. And Zhou showed again how good he is in the race. And how much better he needs to be in qualifying…

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