Nicholas Latifi became the seventh different winner in 2017 after a lights-to-flag Sprint race victory at Silverstone, but it was a day of disappointment for his DAMS team-mate Oliver Rowland.
Latifi retained the lead from pole position at the start, with Luca Ghiotto moving into second ahead of the slow starting Jordan King, while Rowland got a good getaway from sixth on the grid to move into fourth, before passing King into turn three.
However, at the Arena section, Rowland rubbed wheels with King, who was attempting to go around the outside of his fellow Briton, and although this move was investigated by the stewards, no action was taken despite the MP Motorsport driver suffering tyre damage that resulted in his first retirement of 2017.
However, another move down the Wellington Straight by Rowland was also investigated, and the DAMS driver was handed a five-second time penalty for pushing Artem Markelov onto the grass, which would have dramatic consequences on the final result.
Latifi continued untroubled at the front of the field, extending his advantage to more than four seconds, with Ghiotto holding up a train of cars that included Rowland, Markelov, Sergio Canamasas and Charles Leclerc. Leclerc found a way through to fifth with a great move on Canamasas in the loop, with the Spaniard then dropping off the back of the quartet ahead of him.
It looked as though Rowland’s penalty would cost him only a few positions, but that was all to change with just three laps remaining, when the safety car was deployed for a high speed crash for Ralph Boschung down the Hangar Straight. The Campos Racing driver was attempting to pass Alexander Albon but found himself on the grass, which then spun him across the track and into the wall.
Such was the speed of the recovery of the stricken car, there was enough time to get a one-lap shootout, with Latifi retaining his advantage to the chequered flag ahead of Ghiotto, the Canadian finishing 1.717 seconds clear of the Italian to take his maiden FIA Formula 2 Championship victory.
Rowland however gambled on backing the field up ahead of the restart in order to try and get a jump on the chasing pack, but despite this, he was unable to shake them off, and lost third place on the road to Markelov down the Wellington Straight, the exact same place where the offence took place on the same driver on the opening lap!
Rowland finished fourth on the road but dropped to tenth, outside of the points thanks to the penalty, while Canamasas, who had closed up the gap thanks to the safety car, surprised Leclerc on the final lap, making a pass around the outside of Vale to take fifth on the road, which became fourth when Rowland dropped down.
Championship leader Leclerc was still able to claim fifth for Prema Racing ahead Norman Nato, who had a quiet race to be classified sixth, but there was disappointment for his Pertamina Arden team-mate Sean Gelael, who had shadowed the Frenchman throughout the race but saw the chance of a points finish disappear when he spun exiting Stowe at the restart.
Nyck de Vries drove superbly to move from the very back of the field to claim an excellent seventh for Rapax, with the Dutchman capping off a great day for the team with Canamasas up in fourth, while Nobuharu Matsushita claimed the final point of the day in a quiet race for the ART Grand Prix squad ahead of Gustav Malja and the demoted Rowland.
Silverstone Sprint Race Result
|2||5||Luca Ghiotto||ITA||Russian Time||+1.717s|
|3||6||Artem Markelov||RUS||Russian Time||+5.300s|
|5||1||Charles Leclerc||MON||Prema Racing||+7.943s|
|6||20||Norman Nato||FRA||Pertamina Arden||+8.279s|
|7||18||Nyck de Vries||NED||Rapax||+8.801s|
|8||7||Nobuharu Matsushita||JAP||ART Grand Prix||+9.484s|
|9||4||Gustav Malja||SWE||Racing Engineering||+10.618s|
|11||8||Alexander Albon||THA||ART Grand Prix||+13.262s|
|12||12||Robert Visoiu||ROM||Campos Racing||+13.535s|
|13||2||Antonio Fuoco||ITA||Prema Racing||+13.825s|
|14||3||Louis Deletraz||SWI||Racing Engineering||+14.386s|
|16||14||Sergio Sette Camara||BRZ||MP Motorsport||+14.925s|
|17||21||Sean Gelael||INO||Pertamina Arden||+15.871s|
|RET||11||Ralph Boschung||SWI||Campos Racing||Retired|
|RET||15||Jordan King||GBR||MP Motorsport||Retired|