DAMS‘ Nicholas Latifi captures the first win of the 2019 FIA Formula 2 season with the feature race win around Bahrain.
The Canadian driver took victory around the Sahkir International Circuit, taking advantage of fresher tyres in the latter part of the race despite suffering a slow stop. Latifi’s win around Bahrain is his third in F2.
UNI-Virtuosi Racing‘s Luca Ghiotto finished in second, losing out on the win after he suffered clutch troubles at the start of the race from pole position. The Italian driver performed well to climb his way back through the field to appear on the podium.
Sérgio Sette Câmara suffered a poor start in the beginning of the race, but managed to turn around and grab third place, making it a double DAMS podium appearance.
BWT Arden‘s Anthoine Hubert performed strongly after starting from eleventh place. The French driver was on the alternative strategy, and proved to be strong call and claimed fourth place ahead of Carlin‘s Louis Delétraz. The Swiss driver passed ART Grand Prix‘s Nyck de Vries for fifth on the final lap, as the Dutch driver struggled on his tyres in the final stages of the race.
Jack Aitken in the Campos secured seventh place ahead of Prema Racing‘s Mick Schumacher, who passed Nobuaharu Matsushita on the final lap for reserve grid pole for the sprint race. The Japanese driver ended the race in ninth ahead of Guanyu Zhou, who rounded off the top ten and claimed the fastest lap, picking up two additional points. Tatiana Calderon performed well towards the end of the race, using the alternative strategy to good effect by passing cars towards a thirteenth place finish.
Prior to the race. pole sitter Ghiotto suffered clutch troubles during the formation lap, slowly getting off his grid slot but the Italian managed to get back in front of the pace before the race. But his clutch problems stuck with him at the start of the race, as he dropped down to sixth on Lap 1.
Delétraz, Latifi, de Vries, Aitken and Matsushita took advantage of this and passed the Italian in the run towards Turn 1, with the Carlin of Delétraz leading the field.
Sette Câmara suffered a poor start in the race which dropped him down to thirteenth, whilst team-mate Latifi was second but was fighting with the ART of de Vries.
Sean Gelael became the first retirement of the F2 season after his DRS broke and lost control of his car into the braking zone of Turn 1. He managed to avoid cars entering the corner, but the Indonesian driver’s race was over as a result.
By Lap 8, the top three of Delétraz, Latifi and de Vries were covered by one second. Latifi made the first assault with the DRS in the run towards Turn 1 against the Carlin and was successful, taking the lead of the race. Aitken dropped two places as Matsushita and Ghiotto made their way through the Campos car. The Virtuosi of Ghiotto soon clawed his way passed the Japanese driver with a move on the inside of Turn 13, taking fourth place on Lap 10.
Matsushita rapidly down the field as his tyres began to degrade, dropping from fourth place to eighth in two laps. The Carlin driver became the first driver to pit for the Soft tyres on Lap 12. Nikita Mazepin followed him in the pits.
Ghiotto managed to caught up with the likes of Delétraz and de Vries, passing the ART driver for third place. The Dutch driver retreated to the pits for new tyres. Ghiotto surpassed the Carlin for second place as Delétraz struggled on its tyres. On Lap 15, the Swiss driver made its pitstop and came out in thirteenth place ahead of team-mate Matsushita, but the Japanese driver on fresher tyres had the momentum and passed his team-mate for the position.
Race leader Latifi made his stop but the DAMS team were slow during the tyre change, costing him time with the Canadian driver coming out behind both de Vries and Delétraz. The race lead was handed over to Ghiotto, but the Italian a lap later on Lap 17 made his mandatory stop. The Virtuosi racing came out on track in sixth place ahead of Hubert, with de Vries in the lead ahead of both Carlin’s of Matsushita and Delétraz.
Latifi on fresher tyres started to make the pursuit by passing Delétraz for third place down the run towards Turn 1. He made the same move on the following lap for second place on Matsushita. Latifi’s strong race pace on fresher tyres continued as he took back the lead of the race, passing de Vries down at Turn 1 on Lap 23.
Schumacher fought passed Mazepin for tenth place, despite being pushed off track by the Russian driver in the run towards Turn 4. The Russian lost a further place when fighting with the German, as a lock up left the door open for Boschung to take eleventh place.
Ghiotto on fresher tyres clawed up towards the leading pack and made an outstanding double overtake on Sette Camara and Delétraz for fourth place down the main straight towards Turn 1. Ghiotto continued his strong charge by passing Matsushita for third and de Vries for second place as he pursuits for the lead of the race. Hubert on fresher tyres managed to pass both Carlin cars for fifth place.
Hubert continued his pace by passing the ART of de Vries for fourth place. The Dutch driver started to lose pace as his tyres started to degrade, allowing Delétraz to catch up and pass on the final lap. Schumacher managed to claw away a five second gap from Matsushita on the final lap and grab eighth place, claiming reverse grid pole.
Latifi cruised to victory to claim the first race of the season ahead of Ghiotto and team-mate Sette Câmara, a strong start fro the French team. Zhou collected the fastest lap with his tenth place finish.
|2||8||UNI-Virtuosi Racing||Luca Ghiotto||ITA||+8.7|
|3||5||DAMS||Sergio Sette Camara||BRZ||+14.8|
|4||19||BWT Arden||Anthoine Hubert||FRA||+17.2|
|5||1||Carlin Motorsport||Louis Deletraz||CHE||+26.6|
|6||4||ART Grand Prix||Nyck de Vries||NED||+28.4|
|7||15||Campos Racing||Jack Aitken||GBR||+31.5|
|8||9||PREMA Racing||Mick Schumacher||GER||+34.7|
|9||2||Carlin Motorsport||Nobuharu Matsushita||JPN||+37.3|
|10||7||UNI-Virtuosi Racing||Guanyu Zhou||CHA||+41.1|
|13||18||BWT Arden||Tatiana Calderon||COL||+55.7|
|14||11||Sauber Junior Team by Charouz||Callum Ilott||GBR||+56.2|
|15||14||Campos Racing||Dorian Boccolacci||FRA||+74.2|
|16||12||Sauber Junior Team by Charouz||Juan Manuel Correa||USA||+84.9|
|17||16||MP Motorsport||Jordan King||GBR||+86.5|
|18||17||MP Motorsport||Mahaveer Raghunathan||NED||+93.1|
|19||3||ART Grand Prix||Nikita Mazepin||RUS||+97.5|
|DNF||10||PREMA Racing||Sean Gelael||INO||DNF|