Zhou wins as Armstrong snatches race two pole with last-lap pass

Formula 2

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Guanyu Zhou won the opening Formula 2 race in Monaco despite a late Safety Car period giving his pursuers an opportunity to strike.

Having qualified 10th yesterday, the championship leader started from pole position on the partial reverse grid. He led the field away cleanly, while Christian Lundgaard moved up to second place from third on the grid at the expense of Zhou’s Virtuosi team mate Felipe Drugovich.

Lundgaard was doomed not to finish there, however, as he became the latest victim of Formula 2’s continuing reliability problems. His ART-run Dallara began smoking heavily around half distance, and after puffing its way around the Principality for several laps, Lundgaard ground to a halt.

That re-established a one-two for Virtuosi which held to the flag, despite a Safety Car interruption on lap 25. Gianluca Petecof, who was sidelined with a spectacular engine failure during practice yesterday, hit the barrier at the exit of the Swimming Pool. He was recovered quickly enough for the action to resume just three laps later.

Zhou kept his lead at the restart from Drugovich, Roy Nissany and Ralph Boschung. Juri Vips lagged a further two seconds behind, though through no fault of his own, having been held up by the lapped car of Alessio Deledda at the restart.

Deledda, who was allowed into the race despite failing to qualify yesterday, lapped around five seconds off the pace and went a lap down on the 19th tour. He peeled into the pits as the race restart, but not before holding Vips up sufficiently that Dan Ticktum spent the final laps crawling all over his rear wing. Vips’ cause wasn’t aided by the fact he’d taken more out of his tyres than most, setting the race’s fastest lap on the 22nd tour.

They took the flag in that order, followed by race three pole-winner Theo Pourchaire, Oscar Piastri and Liam Lawson. But in a race which predictably featured little passing, one significant move occured on the final lap.

Marcus Armstrong found a way by Jehan Daruvala into 10th place, which gives him pole position for the second race of the weekend tomorrow morning. The DAMS driver therefore has a precious chance to gain some ground in the championship, having retired three laps into the season-opener when his engine failed.

Robert Shwartzman’s race ended after he struck a barrier on the first lap. Marino Sato joined him in retirement when he thumped the barrier at the exit of Sainte Devote shortly before the chequered flag fell.

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Formula 2 race one results

1Guanyu Zhou
2Felipe Drugovich
3Roy Nissany
4Ralph Boschung
5Juri Vips
6Dan Ticktum
7Theo Pourchaire
8Oscar Piastri
9Liam Lawson
10Marcus Armstrong
11Jehan Daruvala
12David Beckmann
13Richard Verschoor
14Bent Viscaal
15Lirim Zendeli
16Jack Aitken
17Guilherme Samaia
18Alessio Deledda
DNFMarino Sato
DNFGianluca Petecof
DNFChristian Lundgaard
DNFRobert Shwartzman

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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17 comments on “Zhou wins as Armstrong snatches race two pole with last-lap pass”

  1. Umm. I thought there is no racing in Monaco on Friday because that is the designated time for locals to go to the market and roam around rather than having 3 continuous days of no non-F1 activity.

    Then how come this race was today?

    1. @sumedh Monaco has always had support racing on Friday, so not the first time, albeit only from morning till afternoon.

  2. Weird, weird race. Most of the drivers seemed content to sit back and go for fastest lap rather than try overtaking. The point for fastest lap needs to be removed for Monaco. Ticktum at one point did a 1:22.1 followed by a 1:27.6 and a 1:22.3 after that. Crazy stuff.

    1. With this race format, drivers would be foolish to risk almost anything in race 1, especially on a track like this. Not saying that it’s good or bad in the long run, but it is to be expected. I’m sure tomorrow morning’s race, which will take place very early (8:20 local time? crazy), will be a lot more eventful due to the format (no starting at the back after a crash) and the cold track.

  3. Not exactly a classic, but absolutely typical of the circuit.
    Other than Armstrong barging through there weren’t any actual overtakes after the first lap, were there?

  4. That last lap overtake was bonkers

    1. Move of the year by far.

  5. Other than overtake on Jehan rest of race was a snoozefest.

  6. A costly and embarrassing mistake by Daruvala – he had the sprint race II pole position in his hands. He threw it away by not covering the inside line into Rascasse enough. Starting 11th (also his starting position for feature race) in SR1 on this type of track, so getting the pole would’ve given him a chance at winning once, but not anymore. Early days, but at this rate, he’s going to throw away his possible F1 opportunity for next year.
    An error-free and controlled run by Zhou, though.

    1. Don’t think Daruvala did much wrong there – Armstrong used enough force to potentially put them both out.
      And if he had taken one or both out, he’d have been the one with the penalty.
      That’s the issue when the guy behind has nothing to lose, and the one in front does.

      He’s lucky that F2 cars are built stronger than F1 cars are.

  7. Jockey Ewing
    21st May 2021, 13:15

    Nissany on the podium, career peak I guess. What a result for him, and at Monaco, now at least he has a great thing to remember from his racing career. Deladda’s personal best lap was at about 2seconds off the second slowest one at the race, huh.

  8. I wondered why Vips ended up so far off the leading pack at the restart, makes sense if Deledda was in the way.

    No idea why Deledda was allowed to start the race (and nor has anyone else, including, it seems, the stewards) – but there was nothing in that race to show that he’s anything other than a liability to his competitors and himself. He should be benched for the rest of the weekend.

    1. @red-andy Sadly it’s quite likely that HWA’s F2 entry will fold if Deledda misses out. Wouldn’t be a big loss to be honest, save for Aitken

    2. There was nothing there to say Deledda was a danger to anyone else either -he didn’t cause or become involved in any incidents, and obeyed all blue flags.
      All he did was fail the 107% rule, and the stewards seem to think that wasn’t the end of the world.

      1. He was constantly two seconds slower than every other driver before he was hit with blue flags. That means he had a clear track ahead and still couldn’t keep up.
        His record in FIA F3 gives no hope he will ever achieve anything positively memorable.

    3. Yeah, I couldn’t understand why Vips ended up so far behind Boschung at the restart. Good to have that explained.
      I guess F2 doesn’t have the unlapping rule?

  9. The pitfalls of F2’s new weekend format really got laid bare today. Obviously Monaco has little/no overtaking but there was absolutely no desire from most of the drivers to risk both Race 1 and 2 for a single overtake – Armstrong excluded of course!

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