Formula 2

Marcus Armstrong Claims Maiden Formula 2 Victory in Opening Jeddah Encounter

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Credit: Lars Baron/Getty Images

Marcus Armstrong took his maiden FIA Formula 2 victory in the opening race of the weekend at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit in Saudi Arabia on Saturday.

The New Zealander has endured a tough sophomore season in Formula 2 and had failed to step on the podium up until this weekend, but he put in a good performance in Saudi Arabia to take the win after jumping pole sitter Liam Lawson at the start.

Armstrong controlled the race thereafter to claim the win, with Lawson unable to do much about his countryman.  The Hitech Grand Prix driver ended on the DAMS driver’s tail at the chequered flag but was forced to settle for second, with Lawson’s team-mate Jüri Vips completing the podium in third.

The race was neutralised on the opening lap after Olli Caldwell, making his Formula 2 debut for Campos Racing, made contact with Charouz Racing System’s Guilherme Samaia, with the Brazilian being pushed into the wall as a result.  Unfortunately, the out-of-control Samaia then took out Trident’s Marino Sato, with the safety car needed to clear up the two cars. 

The racing resumed on lap four, with Armstrong controlling the restart, but it was not long before there was another interruption, this time in the form of a virtual safety car, as championship contender Guanyu Zhou spun after attempting to pass Christian Lundgaard into turn one.

Zhou was left facing the wrong way and with a broken front wing, but he was able to get back onto the track and into the pits for repairs.  However, it put a major dent in his chance of taking the title away from Oscar Piastri.

On the restart, Armstrong and Lawson were at the front of the field ahead of Campos Racing’s Ralph Boschung, with Vips fourth ahead of UNI-Virtuosi Racing’s Felipe Drugovich.  The contact between Zhou and Lundgaard had dropped the latter to eighth behind ART Grand Prix’s Théo Pourchaire and Prema Racing’s Robert Shwartzman.

Shwartzman earned himself a five-second time penalty for passing Pourchaire by running off track, while Vips managed a move on Boschung to take the final spot on the podium before Drugovich took fourth off the struggling Swiss racer.

The race was brought under the safety car again late on when Pourchaire, running in seventh, lost control of his ART at turn twenty-two and crashed into the barriers.  The race resumed with Lawson pressurising Armstrong for the lead, but the DAMS driver held on for the win.

Vips completed the podium ahead of Drugovich, while Shwartzman would take fifth despite his earlier five-second time penalty.  Jehan Daruvala had put in a great drive to finish on the road in sixth for Carlin, which would have seen him take fifth had he also not taken a five-second time penalty post-race for passing a driver whilst off-track.

The penalty would relegate the Indian driver to tenth, and ironically reverse grid pole position, while Lundgaard ended sixth ahead of Carlin’s Dan Ticktum and championship leader Piastri. 

Daruvala will lead the field to the start for the second sprint race and will be joined on the front row by Trident’s Bent Viscaal, with Piastri and Ticktum on row two.

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