Vesti out-runs Martins after two Safety Car periods for crucial sprint race win

Formula 2

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Frederik Vesti won the Formula 2 sprint race in Monza from third on the grid to reduce his deficit to championship leader Theo Pourchaire.

Vesti claimed the race lead on the opening lap and withstood the disruption of two Safety Car restarts for his fifth victory of the season.

He crossed the line less than half a second ahead of Victor Martins, who made rapid progress through the field early in the race. Richard Verschoor completed the podium within a second of the winner.

Ralph Boschung started on took pole position on the partially-reversed grid with Verschoor joining him on the front row. Vesti completed the top three, while Pourchaire started 10th for the first race of the championship’s penultimate round.

The top three arrived at the Rettifilo chicane side-by-side on the first lap. Boschung, sandwiched in the middle, locked up heavily and took to the escape road, which left a battle for the lead between Verschoor and Vesti.

The Mercedes junior had better traction out of Rettifilo and he completed his move on Verschoor down the inside of Curva Grande. But the race was under Safety Car conditions by the end of lap one, after Amaury Cordeel was spun by Zane Maloney at Ascari.

Vesti led the lap five restart well, but Boschung’s afternoon went from bad to worse. He started lap five in fourth, but immediately got swallowed up on the start-finish straight and was eighth into Rettifilo. His tyres had been ruined by his lap one lock-up and he was down in 13th by the time the cars returned to the start/finish straight.

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Further ahead, the battle for third was intensifying. Martins, who had a close moment on lap one after making contact with Oliver Bearman, was the fastest driver following the restart and he applied pressure to third-placed Kush Maini.

Martins completed his attack on lap eight, overtaking Maini at Rettifilo. Both ART drivers were on the move: Moments later Pourchaire overtook Jak Crawford for fifth with a move on the inside of Variante della Roggia.

While the championship leader was making moves, title hopeful Vesti was doing all he could and by lap 11 he led the race by 1.7 seconds. But there was a rapid Martins behind, who on the following tour overtook Verschoor for second at Rettifilo.

To Vesti’s dismay, the Safety Car was summoned again on lap 12. Juan Manuel Correa hit Roy Nissany at the Roggia which sent the PHM driver into a spin and out of the race.

Another retirement occurred the following lap as Ayumu Iwasa entered the pit lane with terminal damage. The fourth consecutive non-points finish was another blow for the driver who arrived in Italy third in the standings.

The race restarted on lap 16. The top three kept position, while a back-and-forth battle for fourth occurred. Pourchaire initially claimed it at Rettifilo before Maini took it back, but then the Sauber junior completed a daring, late lunge down the inside of the Roggia on lap 16.

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Pourchaire pulled clear of Maini, while Vesti was under intense pressure from Martins. On the penultimate lap, the ART driver was four tenths of a second behind Vesti, who changed his line as much as he dared on the straight into Alboreto (formerly Parabolica) to break the tow.

This proved crucial in keeping Martins behind and Vesti claimed his much-needed victory. Verschoor finished 0.4s behind Martins to join them on the podium.

Behind was Pourchaire in fourth, with Maini, Bearman, Arthur Leclerc and Roman Stanek completing the point positions.

Vesti now trails the Sauber junior by nine points in the standings, while Martins moves above Jack Doohan into fourth and is three points behind Iwasa. But Pourchaire will start tomorrow’s feature race from pole position, giving him a chance to recover the ground he lost to Vesti.

Formula 2 Italy race one results

17Frederik VestiPrema
26Victor MartinsART
322Richard VerschoorVan Amersfoort
45Theo PourchaireART
524Kush MainiCampos
68Ollie BearmanPrema
712Arthur LeclercDAMS
820Roman StaněkTrident
914Jack DoohanVirtuosi
1021Clement NovalakTrident
1110Isack HadjarHitech
121Dennis HaugerMP
139Jak CrawfordHitech
143Zane MaloneyRodin Carlin
154Enzo FittipaldiRodin Carlin
1617Josh MasonPHM Racing by Charouz
172Jehan DaruvalaMP
1823Juan Manuel CorreaVan Amersfoort
1925Ralph BoschungCampos
DNF11Ayumu IwasaDAMS
DNF16Roy NissanyPHM Racing by Charouz
DNF15Amaury CordeelVirtuosi

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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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