UNI-Virtuosi Racing‘s Luca Ghiotto takes a superb victory by pitting during the sprint race in Bahrain.
The Italian driver rounded off a strong weekend at the season opener in FIA Formula 2 by capturing victory, gambling on a pit stop in in the middle of the race. He fell back to fourteenth place but with fresher tyres, clawed his way back through the field and passed the leaders to take back the lead of the race.
Ghiotto managed to create a gap in the beginning stages of the race to capatlise a pit stop, similar to the tactics of Charles Leclerc’s sprint race win in 2017. With the extra pace, the Italian captured victory ahead of DAMS‘ Sérgio Sette Câmara and feature race winner Nicholas Latifi. The two drivers from the French squad opted to stay out on track instead of following Ghiotto’s tactic.
Fourth place fell to the Virtuosi car Guanyu Zhou, finishing as the best rookie of the race ahead of Carlin‘s Louis Delétraz. Prema Racing‘s Mick Schumacher ended the race in sixth ahead of ART Grand Prix‘s Nyck de Vries with MP Motorsport‘s Jordan King rounding off the point scoring positions with eighth place.
Pole sitter Schumacher started the race on the defense against Jack Aitken in the run down towards Turn 1. The German managed to hold the lead of the race with Delétraz and de Vries both making attempts to pass second place Aitken, but de Vries made contact with the Campos, forcing all three cars off the track in the at Turn 7. The stewards investigated the incident and found no penalty needed to be applied to any of the three cars.
Both DAMS drivers took advantage of the cars going off-track and jumped up to second and third with Sette Câmara ahead of Latifi. The Brazilian caught up with Schumacher at the end of the second lap and successfully passed the German for the lead of the race whilst Ghiotto overtook Latifi for third place.
The Italian passed Schumacher with the help of DRS down the back straight for second place. The German dropped another place to Latifi at the beginning of Lap 4, with Ghiotto passing Sette Câmara at Turn 4 for the lead of the race.
Juan Manuel Correa and King squabbled for eleventh place throughout Lap 7 and their battle continued in Lap 8, with King passing the Sauber driver off-track. The American attempted to make the cut-back at Turn 4 and re-claim the position, but tagged with the rear of King’s car, causing front wing damage and sending him to the back of the pack.
Sean Gelael was the first driver in the race to pit for fresh tyres in the sprint race, kick starting the trent of switching tyres. The Indonesian driver dropped down to eighteenth. Nobuharu Matsushita followed the Prema and was the first out of the front runners to pit.
Race leader Ghiotto with a five second lead ahead of Sette Câmara opted to make a pit stop for new tyres. The Italian came out of the pits in fourteenth place. de Vries in fourth place followed the Virtuosi car, but a slow stop from the ART pushed him down to sixteenth place.
Ghiotto was immediately on the pace as he clawed his way through the pack and back into the points with eight laps to go. The Virtuosi driver was eating away the gap on the cars who chose to stay out on track.
The DAMS drivers squabbled for the lead of the race as Latifi attempted to pass Sette Câmara, but was unsuccessful. Whilst Ghiotto reached back to the podium position on Lap 18 by passing Delétraz and Schumacher for third.
With five laps to go, Sette Câmara remained in the lead ahead of team-mate Latifi, but Ghiotto quickly gained on the two driver, being six seconds behind at the beginning of Lap 18.
At the start of Lap 21, Ghiotto easily passed the struggling Latifi for second place with the help of fresher tyres and the DRS towards Turn 1. On the same lap, Ghiotto closed in on race leader Sette Câmara and made the move for the lead at Turn 13. Ghiotto on fresher tyres completed the job and re-claimed the lead of the race went on to claim victory.
The Italian’s weekend rounded off strongly with a win and the lead of the championship, after ending the Bahrain round with pole position, second and first place. Ghiotto holds 37 points with feature race winner Latifi second overall with 35 points. Latifi’s team-mate Sette Câmara is third with 27 points.
|1||8||UNI-Virtuosi Racing||Luca Ghiotto||ITA|
|2||5||DAMS||Sergio Sette Camara||BRZ||+5.4|
|4||7||UNI-Virtuosi Racing||Guanyu Zhou||CHA||+18.2|
|5||1||Carlin Motorsport||Louis Deletraz||CHE||+21.9|
|6||9||PREMA Racing||Mick Schumacher||GER||+24.6|
|7||4||ART Grand Prix||Nyck de Vries||NED||+25.1|
|8||16||MP Motorsport||Jordan King||GBR||+25.5|
|9||19||BWT Arden||Anthoine Hubert||FRA||+30.5|
|10||10||PREMA Racing||Sean Gelael||INO||+30.5|
|11||15||Campos Racing||Jack Aitken||GBR||+32.2|
|12||2||Carlin Motorsport||Nobuharu Matsushita||JPN||+35.9|
|13||3||ART Grand Prix||Nikitaz Mazepin||RUS||+40.5|
|15||18||BWT Arden||Tatiana Calderon||COL||+46.0|
|16||11||Sauber Junior Team by Charouz||Callum Ilott||GBR||+56.4|
|17||14||Campos Racing||Dorian Boccolacci||FRA||+60.0|
|19||12||Sauber Junior Team by Charouz||Juan Manuel Correa||USA||+92.5|
|20||17||MP Motorsport||Mahaveer Raghunathan||NED||1 Lap|