Carlin‘s Nobuharu Matsushita captures the FIA Formula 2 feature race win at Monza whilst Luca Ghiotto and Nyck de Vries complete a comeback drive after starting the race from the back of the pack.
The Japanese driver claims his second win of the season, passing pole-sitter Callum Ilott within the opening laps and able to look after his tyres throughout to take home the win and Carlin’s second win of 2019. UNI-Virtuosi Racing‘s Ghiotto started the race in thirteenth place but used the alternative strategy to fight his way through to second place.
Championship leader de Vries started from seventeenth, and last place, but managed to stay clear of incidents towards a podium finish, extending his lead as Nicholas Latifi dealt with troubles in the race.
The race started with Ilott retaining the lead ahead of Guanyu Zhou, with Matsushita getting a strong start to jump up to third. Nikita Mazepin was the big loser at the start, missing the first chicane and dropping out of the top ten. Ghiotto made his way up into the top ten on the opening lap.
The second lap of the race saw plenty of drama as Louis Delétraz spun out of the race, whilst Zhou and de Vries skipped the chicane and lost positions. Zhou for Virtuosi dropped down to fifth, losing second place and handing it to Matsushita.
DAMS and the UNI-Virtuosi Racing drivers squabbled with each other between third to sixth place. Sérgio Sette Câmara fought against Latifi, winning the duel and allowing the likes of Ghiotto and Zhou to engage with the Canadian for fourth place.
Ilott lost the lead of the race to Matsushita on Lap 5, passing the British driver in the run towards the Viriatine chicane. A lap later, Ilott made his mandatory stop, demoting to tenth place. Sette Câmara, Zhou, Marino Sato, and Sean Gelael joined the British driver in switching to the medium tyres. Tatiana Calderón in the sole BWT Arden retired after spinning at the Viriatine chicane.
Race leader Matsushita made his stop at the end of Lap 7 and retained ahead of Ilott with ease. Latifi came out ahead of Zhou, but with fresher tyres, the Chinese driver managed to pass the Canadian for eighth place. The pit stop by Matsushita hands the lead to Ghiotto on the alternative strategy.
Latifi attempted to pass Zhou on Lap 13, but as the Canadian was on the outside going into the Viriatine chicane, the pair made contact with Latifi’s front wing hitting Zhou’s tyre. The DAMS’ front wing was damaged whilst Zhou suffered a puncture that ultimately led to his retirement in the race. Latifi was able to crawl back to the pits for repairs and rejoin the race.
Sette Câmara whilst battling with de Vries, locked-up and cut the opening chicane and gained an advantage over the Dutchman. The race stewards handed a five-second penalty to the Brazilian as a result, just as de Vries passed him before Turn 1 to take seventh place on Lap 19.
On Lap 20, race leader Ghiotto made his stop for the soft tyres. But a slow stop from the Virtuosi team left him coming out in seventh place behind Sette Câmara. Jordan King took over the lead of the race but made his stop a lap later to come out in eighth place.
Ilott spent the majority of the race closely following the rear of Matsushita’s Carlin, but couldn’t find a way pass for the initial lead. The Japanese driver started to build a gap away from the British driver in second, whilst de Vries in third started to close up on Ilott.
With four laps to go, de Vries made his move on Ilott for second place at the opening chicane, successfully taking the position away from the Sauber driver.
Ghiotto on the soft tyres started to make a charge as he passed Sette Câmara and Ilott for a spot on the podium with third place. The Italian continually pumped in fastest laps as he pursued towards de Vries for second place with two laps to spare. But in the run towards Ascari, Ghiotto with the pace breezed past de Vries for second place.
Matsushita claimed his second feature race in the 2019 season ahead of Ghiotto and de Vries, who both completed strong comeback drives from the rear end of the field. Ilott was passed by Sette Câmara on the last lap but captured the fourth place with the Brazilian’s penalty applied.
King claimed sixth place ahead of Giuliano Alesi and Jack Aitken, who will start Sunday’s sprint race on reverse grid pole. Gelael for PREMA Racing secured ninth whilst MP Motorsport‘s Mahaveer Raghunathan accomplished his first point of the season with tenth place.
In tribute to Anthoine Hubert and wishing the best recovery to Juan Manuel Correa, the French national anthem was played on the podium. Race winner Matsushita sported a Renault cap, designed by Hubert that sported the tricolors of France.
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