Nobuharu Matsushita never wins easy in FIA Formula 2 and he proved so again coming from eighteenth on the grid to win the feature race in Spain.
It looked like Callum Ilott had the race won as he was already past Matsushita before the Japanese racer had pitted but a perfectly timed safety car started his charge to victory.
He restarted in third behind Ilott and the then race leader Yuki Tsunoda who gambled and stayed out on well-worn hard tyres. Ilott was all over the Carlin and tried to make a move but Tsunoda shut the door, thus opening one for Matsushita who took full advantage.
Ilott was forced wide as the MP Motorsport driver got past and the Brit was then overtaken by Robert Shwartzman who was able to follow him home for second.
Matsushita also secured the two extra points for fastest lap on the final lap.
Roy Nissany found the barrier towards the end of the race and that left one lap of racing at the end in a race that saw thirty five of the thirty seven laps completed due to time restraints.
On that final lap, Ilott tried again to overtake Tsunoda but he again failed as his teammate Guanyu Zhou and Nikita Mazepin also passed the UNI-Virtuosi car. Mazepin crossed the line third but had a time penalty which dropped him out of the points.
That meant Zhou finished third ahead of Tsunoda and Ilott who was very unhappy with the robustness of the drivers he was racing.
Mick Schumacher was classified sixth ahead of Felipe Drugovich who drove a fine race but pitted a lap too late under the second safety car and dropped back from a provisional second place.
Mazepin’s penalty helped his Hitech GP teammate Luca Ghiotto to eighth and reverse grid pole position ahead of an unusually quiet Dan Ticktum and Louis Delétraz.
Sean Gelael and Jack Aitken both stopped on the final lap and have a big job ahead of them in Sunday’s sprint race.
Marcus Armstrong (Lap One), Guiliano Alesi (Lap Twenty-Five) and Nissany (Lap Thirty-Two) all did not finish and also brought out a safety car each in the process.
|1||Nobuharu Matsushita||MP Motorsport||35 Laps (Of planned 37)|
|7||Felipe Drugovich||MP Motorsport||+8.831|
|8||Luca Ghiotto||Hitech GP||+8.992|
|12||Artem Markelov||HWA Racelab||+10.552|
|13||Nikita Mazepin||Hitech GP||+10.661|
|18||Jack Aitken||Campos||DNF (Contact)|
|19||Sean Gelael||DAMS||DNF (Contact)|
|20||Roy Nissany||Trident||DNF (Crash)|
|21||Guiliano Alesi||HWA Racelab||DNF (Contact)|
|22||Marcus Armstrong||ART||DNF (Spin/Gravel)|