Campos Racing‘s Jack Aitken grabbed his third win of the 2019 FIA Formula 2 Season at Monza in a thrilling sprint race, withholding the challenge from fellow British drivers Jordan King and Callum Ilott throughout.
The Anglo-Korean driver converted reverse grid pole to the win, engaging in a fight with King and Ilott in the sprint race. Aitken in the race was handed a black and white for weaving in the race in an attempt to break the tow from his competitors. However, no penalty was handed for Aitken throughout the race.
King finished in second, losing out when battling with Aitken for the lead and at one point, demoting to third by Ilott, who dropped down the order after failing to break for the opening turn on the final lap. King was critical over Aitken’s weaving during the race. ART Grand Prix‘s Nyck de Vries benefitted from the woes of his title contenders and grabbed third, firmly cementing his championship lead to Nicholas Latifi with a 59 point deficit.
Reverse grid pole-sitter Aitken got away off the line brilliantly with a huge gap to second place King. But King made up the gap to Aitken at the end of the first lap. Luca Ghiotto in the opening chicane colliding with the rear of Sérgio Sette Câmara, causing damage to his front wing.
King attempted to pass Aitken for the lead at Turn 7, but couldn’t execute the move on the Campos driver. Giuliano Alesi lost out to Ilott for third place, as the feature race pole-sitter made his way through at the opening chicane for the final podium spot on Lap 5.
Aitken held onto the lead of the race until the beginning of Lap 7, when King made a late pass at the opening chicane for the lead. The MP Motorsport driver was successful, but Aitken attempted to take back the lead in the run to the Variante chicane, only to be forced wide by King, cementing his lead in the race.
On the same lap, de Vries, Sette Câmara, and Ghiotto were involved in an incident at the opening chicane, where de Vries attempted to pass the Brazilian with a late move, only for Ghiotto to make contact with the ART driver. Ghiotto’s front wing failed and faltered down the order, whilst Sette Câmara lost control of his car at the Variante chicane, retiring as a result. A Virtual Safety Car was called to clear away the Brazilian’s damaged DAMS.
After the VSC ended, Aitken got away on time and was able to reclaim the lead of the race away from King at the opening chicane. de Vries improved up to fourth place by passing Alesi in the restart.
King attempted to pass Aitken again on Lap 11 down the Variante chicane with a late lunge, leaving Aitken to use the run-off to avoid contact. King then lost second to Ilott, who passed his fellow Brit as he attempted to squabble for the lead. Aitken rejoined the track with the lead as Ilott attempted to pass for the lead.
Aitken retains the leads as the race reached the final five laps, leading a British one-two-three with King and Ilott on the provisional podium, but de Vries and Nobuharu Matsushita followed closely behind the three throughout, but Matsushita with a five-second time penalty for breaching VSC rules ruled him out for the win.
de Vries in the run towards the opening corner, locked up heavily and failed to slow down, sliding onto the grass and skipping the chicane. The championship leader, however, handed back the positions and demoted himself to fifth place behind Matsushita.
Race leader Aitken was handed a black and white flag on Lap 19 for continually changing direction on the straights and attempting to break the tow from behind. On the final lap of the race, Ilott couldn’t get his car stopped at the opening chicane, going onto the grass and making contact with the wall, causing damage to his front left tyre. The Brit dropped down the field as a result, handing second place to King.
Aitken managed to keep ahead of the competition and claim his third win of the season, his fourth in the series ahead of King and de Vries, who benefitted from Matsushita’s penalty. Guanyu Zhou for UNI-Virtuosi Racing went from seventeenth place to fourth in the race, with Matsushita falling down to fifth ahead of Mick Schumacher, Alesi and Louis Delétraz who collected the final point.
On the podium, Aitken brought a French flag out in tribute to fellow Renault Academy driver Anthoine Hubert, who passed away in an accident during the feature race at Spa-Francorchamps. Both King and de Vries held the flag alongside Aitken.
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