Vesti takes title fight with Pourchaire down to the wire with crucial sprint race win

Formula 2

Posted on

| Written by

The Formula 2 championship will be decided on the final day of the season after Frederik Vesti battled to victory in the sprint race at the Yas Marina circuit.

The Prema racer, who drove Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes in first practice for the grand prix yesterday, fought his way forward from fourth in the early stages. He caught leader Enzo Fittipaldi and passed him to secure victory by over three seconds.

With 26 points available in the final race of the season tomorrow, Vesti’s win leaves him 16 adrift of championship leader Theo Pourchaire.

Before the start of the race, Enzo Fittipaldi lined up on the partial-reverse-grid pole with Vesti starting alongside him. As the field set off for the formation lap, newcomer Paul Aron was left stranded on the grid after appearing to have stalled. Aron’s car was pushed off the grid in time for the race to start uninterrupted.

When the lights went out, the front starters row ran side-by-side through the first corner, Fittipaldi coming out with the lead. On the long run down the back straight to turn six, Richard Verschoor joined the battle, overtaking Vesti and challenging Fittipaldi for the lead. However, both ran wide at the corner, which allowed Isack Hadjar to drive around Vesti and Verschoor into second place.

However the Safety Car was deployed before the end of the first lap for multiple hazards Arthur had Leclerc stalled on the grid and Juan Manuel Correa was stranded across the track at turn three following contact with Victor Martins at the start.

Fittipaldi led behind the Safety Car ahead of Hadjar, Verschoor and then Vesti in fourth place. When the race restarted on lap six, Fittipaldi held onto the lead from Hadjar as Vesti slipstreamed his way by Verschoor along the back straight to take third place. Vesti was encouraged by Prema to push for the fastest lap, which he promptly did, only for Leclerc at the back of the pack to snatch it off him.

Vesti caught Hadjar by lap 10 and was pressed by Prema to overtake him at the first time of asking. With the help of DRS, Vesti successfully picked off the Hitech driver to move up to second place, leaving him was a gap of just over two seconds for him to chase down to leader Fittipaldi.

Fittipaldi had his mirrors full of Vesti’s Prema by lap 17, but after biding his time for multiple laps, Vesti eventually made his move into turn six at the end of the back straight on lap 20, moving into the lead of the race at last. Martins, who had pitted for a new front wing after damage sustained from contact with Correa, took the fastest lap away from Vesti, but as he was well outside of the top ten, the bonus point still belonged to the Prema racer.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Vesti ticked off the remaining laps to cross the line and take victory by just under three seconds from Fittipaldi, with Verschoor completing the podium in third. Dennis Hauger took fourth for MP Motorsport, with Hadjar in fifth ahead of feature race pole winner Jack Doohan in sixth.

Pourchaire finished seventh, meaning he will start tomorrow’s finale five places behind Vesti on the grid but 16 points ahead at the top of the standings. Ayumu Iwasa finished eighth with Zane Maloney in ninth and Oliver Bearman completing the top ten.

Formula 2 Abu Dhabi race one results

17Frederik VestiPrema
24Enzo FittipaldiRodin Carlin
322Richard VerschoorVan Amersfoort
41Dennis HaugerMP
510Isack HadjarHitech
614Jack DoohanVirtuosi
75Theo PourchaireART
811Ayumu IwasaDAMS
93Zane MaloneyRodin Carlin
108Ollie BearmanPrema
1124Kush MainiCampos
1220Roman StaněkTrident
139Jak CrawfordHitech
1416Roy NissanyPHM Racing by Charouz
1517Josh MasonPHM Racing by Charouz
1621Paul AronTrident
1715Amaury CordeelVirtuosi
1825Ralph BoschungCampos
192Franco ColapintoMP
206Victor MartinsART
2112Arthur LeclercDAMS
DNF23Juan Manuel CorreaVan Amersfoort

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Formula 2

Browse all Formula 2 articles

Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

3 comments on “Vesti takes title fight with Pourchaire down to the wire with crucial sprint race win”

  1. Great write-up, @RaceFansWill. I usually enjoy my racing but this is all just too much nail-biting!! Fingers-crossed for Pourchaire tomorrow. Somehow I think Vesti is going to do it.

    1. Well, Vesti would have to get at least P2 (or P3+FL) to have a chance. If he does get P2, Pourchaire needs at least P8 or P9+FL. If Vesti should win, Pourchaire needs at least P5. As a Dane I’m rooting for Vesti, of course, but it looks like quite a challenge that needs everything fall into place.

    2. I hope Vesti is going to do it (I like him more than Porchaire as a character, that’s all, plus one driver was over-hyped, another almost opposite). Either way, this race was so good to watch, and it’s a shame that FIA doesn’t take F2 more seriously and at least allow champions to keep on racing, and also give them more time on track (many times have they ended F2 races just to get them out of the way, before the following F1 session). Not to mention terrible stewarding throughout the season(s).
      This is a decent championship on its own. I wish it became more like F1 “B” than junior F1 series, but there’ll be no interest for that.

Comments are closed.