Maximilian Günther drove superbly to take his maiden FIA Formula 2 championship victory at Silverstone on Sunday, leading every lap from pole position with all the action going on behind him.
The German gave his BWT Arden team a home win, and seemed to finally get his tyre management under control after struggling throughout the season, with Günther withstanding a late charge from George Russell to win by just over half a second.
Russell was a man on fire, with the momentum in the championship, with the ART Grand Prix driver and Mercedes-Benz protégé climbing from seventh on the grid to fight through for his second consecutive Sprint race runners-up spot.
He was forced to wait for lap six to make the move on Luca Ghiotto for sixth, but it was only another two laps when he jumped ahead of Antonio Fuoco, and two further laps to claim fourth ahead of Louis Delétraz.
Artem Markelov was his next victim on lap fourteen while Nyck de Vries found himself overcome by the reigning GP3 Series champion, but unfortunately for Russell, despite having significantly more pace than Günther, he ran out of laps to take the win.
Another driver to make a superb recovery was Lando Norris, with the Briton claiming the final spot on the podium despite starting tenth on the grid. The Carlin Motorsport driver made quick work of Ralph Boschung on the opening lap and then battled hard with Feature race winner Alexander Albon before making passes on him and Ghiotto to move into the top seven.
Norris then found himself behind Fuoco, but the Charouz Racing System driver edged him off the track at Brooklands, only for the two to bang wheels heading into Luffield as the Briton came back onto the track. Stewards looked at the incident but laid the blame onto the Italian, bizarrely handing him a ten-second penalty despite being out of the race!
Despite complaining of a bent suspension after the Fuoco incident, Norris was soon ahead of the second Charouz of Delétraz, but he saved his best move for last as he swept around both Markelov and de Vries in a single move on the outside of Vale/Club. The podium ensured he minimised the points loss to Russell, but the Mercedes-protégé leaves Silverstone with a thirty-seven point lead over the McLaren F1 Team junior.
Markelov ended fourth for Russian Time as de Vries lost a number of places over the final laps as he struggled with his tyres, the Dutchman ultimately ending down in seventh for Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing behind both Delétraz and Ghiotto.
Albon struggled to make any kind of gains as he finished eighth and was only able to claim a point thanks to the demise of Fuoco, with the Anglo-Thai driver finishing just ahead of MP Motorsport duo of Boschung and Roberto Merhi, with Tadasuke Makino and Jack Aitken following them home.
The tension within the Trident team escalated further during the race, with contact between Arjun Maini and Santino Ferrucci mid-race that will be investigated by the stewards, but even after the chequered flag, the duo were at it again, with the American appearing to deliberately hit the rear of the Indian’s car.
After three consecutive weekends, the grid now has three weeks off before the series resumes in the Hungaroring, with Russell now in firm control of the championship.
Silverstone Sprint Race Result
|1||11||Maximilian Gunther||GER||BWT Arden||37:09.802|
|2||8||George Russell||GBR||ART Grand Prix||+0.520|
|4||1||Artem Markelov||RUS||Russian Time||+9.924|
|5||20||Louis Deletraz||SWI||Charouz Racing System||+12.005|
|6||14||Luca Ghiotto||ITA||Campos Vexatec Racing||+13.051|
|7||4||Nyck de Vries||NED||Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing||+13.929|
|9||10||Ralph Boschung||SWI||MP Motorsport||+14.684|
|10||9||Roberto Merhi||ESP||MP Motorsport||+16.487|
|11||2||Tadasuke Makino||JAP||Russian Time||+19.632|
|12||7||Jack Aitken||GBR||ART Grand Prix||+23.653|
|15||15||Roy Nissany||ISR||Campos Vexatec Racing||+32.165|
|16||3||Sean Gelael||INO||Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing||+33.318|
|18||18||Sergio Sette Camara||BRZ||Carlin||+47.912|
|RET||21||Antonio Fuoco||ITA||Charouz Racing System||Retired|
|RET||12||Nirei Fukuzumi||JAP||BWT Arden||Retired|