Classy Monaco victory makes Pourchaire F2’s youngest-ever winner

Formula 2

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Theo Pourchaire put in a confident drive to claim victory in Formula 2’s Monaco feature race, becoming the series’ youngest winner of all time.

The 17-year-old qualified on pole, taking it in spectacular fashion on Thursday with almost half a second over any other driver. Robert Shwartzman joined him on the front row with his Prema team mate Oscar Piastri in third. Dan Ticktum, who inherited this morning’s sprint race win following Liam Lawson’s disqualification, lined up next on the second row.

As Jack Aitken was unable to get away at the start, yellow flags flew immediately. His HWA car was retrieved from the grid just as the slow-starting Pourchaire led the field back around.

Despite a hesitant launch, Pourchaire kept his lead from Shwartzman and drew out a gap of one and a half seconds over the Prema car by the time they came back around to the grid.

Early contact saw both Lirim Zendeli and Jehan Daruvala heading into the pits for front wing replacements, both having been shown the black-and-orange ‘meatball’ flag during the early laps. Daruvala’s race further deteriorated when he received a five-second time penalty for speeding in the pit lane during his stop.

Shwartzman stayed within a second-and-a-half of Pourchaire but not make any more significant gains against the ART during their first stint.

Daruvala’s hideous weekend ended on lap 20, when contact with Gianluca Petecof at the Nouvelle chicane took his Carlin out of any further running. At the same time, Ticktum was able to catch up to Piastri, clearly intending to make the overtake before pit stops.

Ticktum was the first of the front pack to pit, trying to work heat into fresh soft tyres on lap 27 to take advantage of the pace against Piastri and Shwartzman. Piastri pitted in response, covering off Ticktum to emerge ahead of him in fifth place.

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Shwartzman’s stop, three laps later, did not go as smoothly. A problem with the left-rear tyre stranded him in the pit lane for so long he emerged behind both Piastri and Ticktum. Pourchaire pitted from the lead the lap following, with a smooth stop that saw him emerge comfortably ahead, Guanyu Zhou inheriting the lead, having yet to stop.

At almost the same moment Pourchaire left the pits, Marcus Armstrong’s race ended following contact with Juri Vips. A Virtual Safety Car period covered the retrieval of Armstrong’s car. One VSC soon bred another as Lirim Zendeli, who had already been forced to change his front wing once, went into the wall at La Rascasse on the restart.

After the latest VCS period ended Ticktum took advantage of a lock-up by Piastri around the swimming pool, the two running alongside each other up to La Rascasse until Ticktum ran out of space and his race ended abruptly, trapped against the TecPro. “I’m really, really, really sorry” he told his team on the radio.

Meanwhile Zhou continued to lead the race with a 19-second gap over Pourchaire, but still needing to take his mandatory stop. By lap 37 of 42, Pourchaire had cut the gap to under 13 seconds, when Zhou finally pitted and Pourchaire reassumed the lead.

Felipé Drugovich emerged the victor from a three-way battle between himself, Zhou and Liam Lawson for fourth and then third, with Piastri staying in second and Pourchaire able to confidently take the chequered flag.

Pourchaire became the youngest ever Formula 2 winner, at just seventeen years old, breaking the record set by Lando Norris in 2018. Piastri and Drugovich completed the podium.

Shwartzman had to settle for fourth ahead of Guanyu Zhou, who retains the championship lead. Ralph Boschung was chased across the line by Liam Lawson. Juri Vips, Roy Nissany and Richard Verschoor completed the points-scorers.

Following the long wait until the Monaco round, the F2 field will be in action again at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in two weeks’ time.

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Formula 2 Monaco race three results

1Theo Pourchaire
2Oscar Piastri
3Felipe Drugovich
4Robert Shwartzman
5Guanyu Zhou
6Ralph Boschung
7Liam Lawson
8Juri Vips
9Roy Nissany
10Richard Verschoor
11Bent Viscaal
12Christian Lundgaard
13David Beckmann
14Marino Sato
15Guilherme Samaia
16Gianluca Petecof
17Alessio Deledda
18Jack Aitken
19Dan Ticktum
20Lirim Zendeli
21Marcus Armstrong
22Jehan Daruvala

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Author information

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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7 comments on “Classy Monaco victory makes Pourchaire F2’s youngest-ever winner”

  1. Congrats to the lad!
    This also serves to illustrate just how jaw-dropping VER winning his maiden F1 GP at 18yrs, 134days old was.

  2. How come Zhou didn’t pit under the VSC? He would have lost less time than he did pitting under green flags and could have easily secured a podium.

    1. @wsrgo Because of stupid, over-complicated rules: You can’t take your mandatory pit stop under a VSC in the feature race.

      1. @keithcollantine That’s such an arbitrary rule to have. Part of the reward/risk balance for an overcut is to take advantage of safety car/VSC situations. Perhaps they do this to make sure the element of incidental strategy isn’t there in a feeder series that measures talent. But if they really believed that they wouldn’t have 2 out of 3 reverse grid races would they?

        1. RandomMallard (@)
          22nd May 2021, 21:15

          @wsrgo The rule is there because a VSC had a huge effect on the race in GP2 2015 at Monaco, so as a result, you can no longer serve the mandatory pitstop under VSC.

          In terms of reverse grids, they’ve said that the reverse grid races are there so drivers can learn/show off their overtaking skills, cause while it is a spec series, it is not truly equal (Prema, Carlin, Dams etc will still normally be the quickest cars, while Trident and HWA will normally be near the back). I personally quite like the reverse grid element because it means that all 3 races will be different, although I do think they should probably use the Quali results for SR1 and the FR, or have 2 Quali sessions (1 for SR1, the other for the FR), and then only have 1 reverse grid race.

          1. @randommallard European F3 I believe used to have a system where the fastest quali lap used to determine Race 1 starting position, and the second fastest time for Race 2. That reduces the need for fitting in an extra quali session, rewards consistency and is better than a reverse grid. I’m okay with one reverse grid race maybe, but 2 is too much.

  3. He’s got potential.

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