Bearman wins as Vesti retirement leaves Pourchaire poised to clinch title

Formula 2

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Oliver Bearman won a stop-start feature race at Monza which finished under a Safety Car, while Theo Pourchaire put one hand on the championship crown.

The Ferrari junior gained the lead on lap one and held it despite no fewer than five Safety Car appearances during the 30-lap encounter.

Ayumu Iwasa finished second, passing Pourchaire in the final laps, leaving the ART driver to complete the podium. However Pourchaire will head into the final round of the season as the clear favourite to clinch the title after his closest rival Frederik Vesti crashed out on the first lap.

Pourchaire took pole position for the weekend’s final race, with Vesti’s team mate Bearman joining him at the front. Roman Stanek led Isack Hadjar on the second row.

Although Pourchaire got off the line well, Bearman attacked him for the lead at Curva Grande and forged ahead. But chaos erupted behind them.

After overtaking Hadjar for fourth at Rettifilo, Victor Martins gained another position by moving past Stanek at Roggia.

This put Stanek under immediate pressure as Vesti, who started eighth, tried to claim fifth on the run to Lesmo 1. Stanek moved fully to the inside as Vesti began to draw alongside him. The ART driver took to the grass, spun and hit the barrier.

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Vesti voiced his frustration over team radio and was clearly distraught after climbing out of his damaged car. The crash dealt a huge blow to the title hopes of the driver who trailed Pourchaire by nine points before today’s race. Stanek was given a five-second time penalty for the collision.

The Safety Car was summoned and returned to the pits on lap four. But green flag conditions only lasted a handful of laps before Arthur Leclerc spun into the escape road at Rettifilo.

Many drivers used this interruption as an opportunity to pit on lap seven. Bearman stayed ahead of Pourchaire, but only just, almost touching the ART car as he left his box. The stewards noted the incident but decided to take no action.

The two front-runners rejoined in fifth and sixth, with Jehan Daruvala, Jack Doohan, Iwasa and Hadjar ahead of them yet to make their mandatory pit stops. Martins lost out as he had to queue behind Pourchaire in the ART pit box before having his tyres changed. This dropped him back to a net seventh, behind Kush Maini, Richard Verschoor, Jak Crawford and Dennis Hauger.

Daruvala led the lap 12 restart, but again the race only resumed temporarily. Roy Nissany hit the back of Zane Maloney down the start-finish straight, which spun the Red Bull junior into the barrier. The PHM driver was later given a penalty.

As it happened at the start of a lap, racing conditions initially remained, during which time the lead changed hands three times. It ended with Iwasa making a double overtake on Daruvala and Doohan at Roggia before the Safety Car appeared.

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The field was led through the pit lane, during which time Iwasa and Daruvala made their mandatory pit stops. That proved great timing as Daruvala rejoined in fourth, Iwasa tenth after a brief delay, while Doohan stayed out and moved up to second.

Bearman led the lap 16 restart and was over a second ahead of Doohan by the end of that tour. The Alpine junior was soon under pressure from Pourchaire, who made his first attack on lap 17. The pair went side-by-side into Roggia, and Pourchaire accused his rival of pushing him off.

But Doohan only kept position temporarily, as the ART driver claimed second the following lap at Rettifilo. That battle had allowed Bearman to extend his advantage, and he led Pourchaire by 2.7 seconds on lap 21.

Further back, Martins was in trouble. The DRS on his ART had jammed open, and though he was able to wrestle his car around the track he was losing many places. He was shown the black-and-orange flag, compelling him to pit, where he retired from the race.

On lap 23, Maini’s front right tyre touched Crawford’s rear left at Curva Grande in their battle for fifth. Maini came to a stop in the gravel at Lesmo 2, while Crawford sustained a puncture dropped out of the points and returned to the pit lane. The Safety Car made its fourth appearance, so Doohan pitted from third while Daruvala also came in for new tyres.

That promoted Iwasa to third. The Red Bull junior gained another position on the lap 27 restart, after he overtook Pourchaire on the inside of Rettifilo turn two.

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Somewhat unsurprisingly, another incident provoked a fifth and final Safety Car period. This came on the penultimate lap, as Crawford stopped by the track following contact with Stanek at Ascari. With not enough time for a restart, the Safety Car led drivers to the chequered flag.

Bearman therefore took his fourth victory of the season in his rookie campaign. Behind Iwasa and Pourchaire, Enzo Fittipaldi rose from 13th finish fourth, followed by Dennis Hauger. Doohan was sixth at the flag followed by Daruvala and Amaury Cordeel, the latter achieving his second points finish of the year. Ralph Boschung and Hadjar took the remaining points.

Pourchaire’s championship lead over Vesti therefore stands at 25 points, with 39 left available in the the season finale at Yas Marina in two months’ time.

Formula 2 Italy race two results

18Ollie BearmanPrema
211Ayumu IwasaDAMS
35Theo PourchaireART
44Enzo FittipaldiRodin Carlin
51Dennis HaugerMP
614Jack DoohanVirtuosi
72Jehan DaruvalaMP
815Amaury CordeelVirtuosi
925Ralph BoschungCampos
1010Isack HadjarHitech
1117Josh MasonPHM Racing by Charouz
1222Richard VerschoorVan Amersfoort
1323Juan Manuel CorreaVan Amersfoort
1420Roman StaněkTrident
1516Roy NissanyPHM Racing by Charouz
DNF9Jak CrawfordHitech
DNF24Kush MainiCampos
DNF6Victor MartinsART
DNF3Zane MaloneyRodin Carlin
DNF12Arthur LeclercDAMS
DNF7Frederik VestiPrema
DNF21Clement NovalakTrident

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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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