Shwartzman converts reverse-grid pole for first win of 2021

Formula 2

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Robert Shwartzman has won his first race of the 2021 Formula 2 season from pole position in Baku.

Shwartzman qualified on pole for the first sprint race by beating Felipe Drugovich to 10th-fastest time yesterday, by two hundredths of a second. He made a clean getaway at the start and was untroubled by the drama unfolded behind him at the start.

Four cars retired before the first lap was over. Jack Aitken spun at turn one and ended his race there. Further around the opening dour Drugovich punted Oscar Piastri into the Hitech drivers. Juri Vips survived the contact but Liam Lawson ended his race in the barrier.

Alessio Deledda arrived on the scene, disappeared up the escape road and never found his way back out again, ending HWA’s involvement in proceedings before the first lap had been completed. The Safety Car was summoned so their cars could be retrieved, along with those of Piastri and Lawson, the latter making his displeasure clear on the radio.

Following the restart Monaco feature race winner Théo Pouchaire, who had made up places quickly at the start, slipped backwards due to being unable to warm his tyres. He recovered to finish fifth, from a seventh-place start, bagging the bonus point for fastest lap on the final tour.

Aitken spun into retirement within second of the start
Dan Ticktum had a superb race, rising from finish second. Although he was ultimately unable to challenge Shwartzman for the lead, he had moved up to second place by lap 12 and drew clear of points leader Guanyu Zhou.

Jehan Daruvala took fourth place with Pourchaire bearing down on him, the pair separated by six tenths of a second. Ralph Boschung claimed sixth, then had a fright after the chequered flag as Vips narrowly avoided hitting him.

The Hitech driver had chased Marcus Armstrong across the line, the fight for seventh place decided by six-hundredths of a second. Vips then appeared not to notice Boschung slowing ahead of him, and took to the escape road to avoid hitting the Campos driver.

David Beckmann and Bent Viscaal completed the top 10. The latter will therefore take pole position for this afternoon’s second sprint race.

Zhou bolstered his lead in the championship and now sits 23 point ahead of Pouchaire. Piastri has fallen to third, 26 points off the leader.

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Formula 2 race one results

11Robert Shwartzman
25Dan Ticktum
33Guanyu Zhou
46Jehan Daruvala
510Theo Pourchaire
621Ralph Boschung
717Marcus Armstrong
88Juri Vips
914David Beckmann
1024Bent Viscaal
119Christian Lundgaard
1211Richard Verschoor
1312Lirim Zendeli
144Felipe Drugovich
1520Matteo Nannini
1616Roy Nissany
1715Guilherme Samaia
1825Marino Sato
DNF2Oscar Piastri
DNF7Liam Lawson
DNF22Jack Aitken
DNF23Alessio Deledda

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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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12 comments on “Shwartzman converts reverse-grid pole for first win of 2021”

  1. Shwartzman seems to have a problem, out in the front he’s almost always peerless, but in the pack he struggles to move ahead. That combined with his lack of quali pace might make Ferrari go for Ilott in case they wish to replace Giovinazzi next year.

    Ticktum could seriously become a contender to replace Russell if the latter goes to Merc next year. Pourchaire seems to have relegated Lundgaard to the ‘cursed second driver’ level at ART.

    Honestly I really hope that from next year instead of having three races decided by a single quali time, they have just 1 sprint race out of 3, and either have two different quali sessions or have the fastest and 2nd fastest times from quali count. This current format is a lottery, and I abhor the fact that they apply a reverse format to quali results rather than race results, as they used to.

    1. @wsrgo Or replace Kimi if he quits. Yes, Ticktum might be a candidate for replacing Russell should he get to Merc, but so would Bottas.

      1. RandomMallard (@)
        5th June 2021, 11:19

        @jerejj and @wsrgo I think Theo Pourchaire is also a potential frontrunner for that Alfa seat, as he is part of the Sauber Academy and has shown flashes of brilliance in F2. If he can improve his consistency and potentially fight for the title I think we may see him in F1 next year.

    2. RocketTankski
      5th June 2021, 11:46

      I think Ticktum to Haas would make more sense. Ticktum and Mazepin in one team, critics would love it.
      Schumi could move to Alfa alongside Gio. Kimi has to retire one day right?
      Russell to Merc and I think Bottas will be out of F1 to be honest. I just don’t see who would want to hire him as a number 1 driver at this stage.

      1. That’s bonkers. It would be in Ferrari’s best interests to keep Schumacher at Haas, hopping team to team so early in your career should be given a miss if avoidable. As @randommallard pointed out, if Raikkonen were to retire, Theo Pourchaire would likely be first in line to replace him given how well he’s doing in F2. Also, Ticktum’s bad boy days seem to largely be behind him, so I don’t see the appeal of pairing him up with Mazepin.

  2. Jehan needs to pick up his pace since last race weekend in Monaco he has been downright slow.

  3. Really not a fan of the new format & really hope they revert to the old format for next season for both F2 & F3.

    I think having the 3 races each weekend is unnecessary as the extra race doesn’t really add anything. And then it been a reverse grid from qualifying just ends up producing results which feel less earned & less important somehow.
    I think the format as it was kinda felt like that already which is why drivers who had a habit of finishing 8th in the feature & winning from pole of the reverse grid sprint never got praised in the same way as those who had won the feature from pole on pure pace.

    1. RandomMallard (@)
      5th June 2021, 11:16

      @gt-racer The new weekend format was introduced as part of cost-saving measures as a result of Covid. It serves 2 purposes:

      1. Reduce travel: 3 races and 8 weekends means they only need to travel to 8 locations to run 24 races, instead of 12 locations, cutting travel costs.

      2. Teams can ‘double up’ staff. As F2 and F3 no longer run on the same weekend, teams can theoretically use the same staff for both championships, or at least have some crossover, also cutting costs.

      Personally, I don’t mind the new format. While I did prefer the old one, I still very much enjoy the feeder series with this format. Although if they could find a way to make it so only 1 race is reverse grid then that would be nice, whether that is using Quali for SR1 and the FR, or running 2 quali sessions.

      1. RandomMallard (@)
        5th June 2021, 13:02

        I should also add that I think the teams agreed to this format being used in F2 and F3 for at least 3 seasons as part of the cost-cutting plans, although that is more ‘me remembering something’ than anything else. I know the current F2 car got a stay of execution for 3 years beyond the end of last season.

    2. Yeah, bring the old format back…probably when the pandemic ends

  4. Shwartzman is the luckiest Russian in sport… he must be the only one that still gets the Russian national anthem played for him!

    Once again, my biggest grief is 3 and a half laps of safety car to remove 2 cars? No major damage or cleanup needed. Poor and a waste of everyone’s time.

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