Honda protégé Matsushita returns to winning ways in Spain


Nobuharu Matsushita took victory in Sunday's Sprint race in Spain - Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Nobuharu Matsushita took his first victory of the season in Sunday’s Sprint race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, capitalising on a mistake by long-time leader Nicholas Latifi.

The ART Grand Prix driver had started fourth on the grid and was running second after passing Gustav Malja when, with just four laps remaining, Latifi ran across the gravel at turn five to gift Matsushita the lead, which he then converted into the win.

Matsushita was happy to turn around his performance after struggling with his tyres during Saturday’s Feature race, in which he finished fifth, and he moves into fifth place in the championship standings as a result of his performance in Spain.

“It’s an amazing feeling, and because my last win was last year in Monaco so it was quite nice to come back to the podium and to win,” said Matsushita on fiaformula2.com. “I’m really happy.

“My pace and Nicholas’ was quite similar, so it would not be so easy to overtake I think, but that was quite lucky and I was very happy to be there and to take this win.

“Yesterday was really difficult for me to manage the tyres, and we analysed a lot last night and changed a lot on the car for my driving style, and it was a lot better today.”