Vesti wins ahead of charging Pourchaire in tricky wet-dry contest

Formula 2

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Frederik Vesti extended his Formula 2 championship lead by controlling a dramatic Barcelona sprint race while closest title rival Théo Pourchaire climbed through the order to finish behind him.

Just 1.1 seconds separated the two drivers after Pourchaire made a late charge on the eventual race winner following a Safety Car restart with three laps to go. They were joined by Pourchaire’s team mate Victor Martins on the podium in a thrilling race which started on a wet track.

Amaury Cordeel lined up in pole position on a partially-reversed grid, Jak Crawford joining him on the front-row, with the whole grid on wet weather tyres. Given the rain, stewards ordered a rolling start and Cordeel duly kept his lead into turn one.

But drama quickly unfolded behind him as drivers lacked both grip and visibility. Vesti attempted to overtake Crawford around the outside of turn one but the two drivers made contact. While the Mercedes junior then used the escape road on the inside of turn two to rejoin, Crawford suffered a puncture and crawled around to the pit lane.

That incident put Martins into third ahead of Dennis Hauger and Jack Doohan but soon after, Vesti’s main championship contenders made contact at turn five. Pourchaire slid into the side of Ayumu Iwasa, which sent the Red Bull junior briefly into the gravel and down to 10th from sixth.

Then on lap two while Hitech decided to retire Crawford, Vesti made his overtake for the lead. After narrowly avoiding a spin on the exit kerb at turn nine, he dived down the inside of Cordeel at the following corner, the leader having run too deep into the tight left-hander.

Vesti now led, while Cordeel soon lost another position on lap four where Martins overtook him on the inside of turn one to claim second. The battle behind allowed Vesti to quickly extend his race lead to 4.7 seconds over Martins on lap seven. However by this point in the race the track was beginning to dry out quickly.

Further back, Pourchaire brilliantly overtook Doohan for fifth on lap 11 around the outside of turn 12, before soon taking Cordeel for fourth. Matters soon became worse for the driver who started on pole.

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On lap 12, Cordeel understeered into the gravel at turn eight which caused him to lose fifth to Doohan. He exited amongst a very tight battle for fifth where just 2.5 seconds separated Doohan and Iwasa in ninth, with Oliver Bearman and Richard Verschoor seventh and eighth respectively.

By now drivers were reaching the crossover point where slick tyres were becoming a realistic option. Jehan Daruvala, running outside the points, became the first driver to pit for slicks on lap 17. Others soon followed and three laps later Daruvala was the quickest driver on the track.

Others remained hesitant to switch, until a Virtual Safety Car period made the move a straightforward choice. It was caused by Correa, already on slick tyres, who spun into the gravel at the exit of turn two.

The VSC turned into a full Safety Car before the lap’s end at which point all remaining drivers, including race leader Vesti, pitted for slick tyres. The track was largely dry ahead of the lap 24 restart.

Pourchaire, who headed for the pits before the race was neutralised, made the most moves at the restart. He began by passing Hauger on the inside of turn one for third, before making an excellent move around the outside of turn four on ART team mate Martins.

But not enough time remained for the Sauber junior to make a late overtake for first, leaving Vesti with a second consecutive victory. Martins and Hauger were next, followed by Doohan, Verschoor, Bearman and Iwasa. Pole-winner Cordeel came in 14th and facing an investigation for failing to serve a five-second time penalty for repeatedly exceeding track limits.

Vesti now leads the championship by six points ahead of Pourchaire, with Iwasa in third 29 points off top.

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Formula 2 Spain race one results

17Frederik VestiPrema
25Theo PourchaireART
36Victor MartinsART
41Dennis HaugerMP
514Jack DoohanVirtuosi
622Richard VerschoorVan Amersfoort
78Ollie BearmanPrema
811Ayumu IwasaDAMS
912Arthur LeclercDAMS
104Enzo FittipaldiRodin Carlin
1121Clement NovalakTrident
1210Isack HadjarHitech
1320Roman StaněkTrident
1415Amaury CordeelVirtuosi
153Zane MaloneyRodin Carlin
1617Brad BenavidesPHM Racing by Charouz
1725Ralph BoschungCampos
1824Kush MainiCampos
DNF2Jehan DaruvalaMP
DNF16Roy NissanyPHM Racing by Charouz
DNF23Juan Manuel CorreaVan Amersfoort
DNF9Jak CrawfordHitech

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Ed Hardy
In 2019, Ed started working on Formula 1 writing articles during race weekends. Alongside that, he also built up experience in football working on...

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One comment on “Vesti wins ahead of charging Pourchaire in tricky wet-dry contest”

  1. Pourchaire would be an upgrade for Zhou or Bottas even though I want Bottas to continue racing for years.

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