After two safety cars which meant we only saw nine laps of green flag racing, Liam Lawson kept his cool to take the race win in the FIA Formula 2 Sprint Race in Jeddah.
The Carlin driver took the lead from Van Amersfoort Racing’s Jake Hughes on lap seventeen, with the Brit driver suffering on old soft tyres in the remaining laps.
While Hughes took the first podium of his Formula 2 career, he was pipped on the line by Hitech Grand Prix’s Jüri Vips who took the second step on the podium, with Hughes third.
The 2021 FIA Formula 3 champion, Dennis Hauger, started on pole position and led the rest of the pack early on until the first safety car was brought out on lap two due to Amaury Cordeel making contact with the wall.
Racing was to get back underway at the end of lap six, but a miscue from Virtuosi Racing’s Jack Doohan saw him collide into the back of Logan Sargeant on the restart.
Then cued the controversy. With the crash littering debris across the main start straight, Race Control sent a message to all teams telling them to send their drivers through the pit-lane so the crash could be cleaned up accordingly.
However, Race Control then changed their mind and sent out another message to say that the pit-lane was closed. Prema Racing failed to tell Hauger about the change in message and the Norwegian driver followed the initial instructions.
In the post race press-conference, Lawson clarified the incident, “I think most of us initially got the call to drive through the pit-lane, but we had boards right before the pit-lane entrance that display arrows if you need to go in the pit-lane or a big X if you’re not meant to go in the pit-lane and it was pretty visible that the X was there so that was why none of us drove through.”
With the rest of the grid correctly staying out on track, Hauger exited the pits in twelth position. To make matters worse, he received a ten second stop-and-go penalty for entering the pit-lane while it was closed.
Trident’s Calan Williams inherited the lead, but lost it at the Safety Car restart at the end of lap thirteen to Hughes. The Australian then lost out to Lawson on the same lap and found himself in third position.
The hard charging Vips then made his way from sixth position at the restart, all the way up to his podium grabbing second at the end of the race.
A final Virtual Safety Car was brought out on lap nineteen after Marcus Armstrong found himself facing the wrong way at turn sixteen. The Kiwi was in the middle of a hard fought battle with DAMS’ Ayumu Iwasa before unfortunately losing out on points.
Felipe Drugovich, who will start Sunday’s Feature race from pole position, ended fourth for MP Motorsport after a late pass on Williams, while Trident celebrated a double top-six finish as Richard Verschoor ended sixth. Iwasa closed out the race in seventh, while the final point went the way of Campos Racing’s Ralph Boschung, who just denied Prema’s Jehan Daruvala.
|2||8||Jüri Vips||EST||Hitech Grand Prix||+3.166|
|3||24||Jake Hughes||GBR||Van Amersfoort Racing||+3.224|
|4||11||Felipe Drugovich||BRA||MP Motorsport||+4.846|
|8||15||Ralph Boschung||CHE||Campos Racing||+14.454|
|9||2||Jehan Daruvala||IND||PREMA Racing||+15.237|
|10||4||Marino Sato||JPN||Virtuosi Racing||+16.040|
|12||22||Enzo Fittipaldi||BRA||Charouz Racing System||+17.441|
|13||12||Clément Novalak||FRA||MP Motorsport||+18.739|
|14||9||Frederick Vesti||DNK||ART Grand Prix||+20.298|
|15||10||Théo Pourchaire||FRA||ART Grand Prix||+20.569|
|16||14||Olli Caldwell||GBR||Campos Racing||+25.495|
|17||1||Dennis Hauger||NOR||PREMA Racing||+51.495|
|18||7||Marcus Armstrong||NZL||Hitech Grand Prix||DNF|
|20||3||Jack Doohan||AUS||Virtuosi Racing||DNF|
|21||25||Amaury Cordeel||BEL||Van Amersfoort Racing||DNF|
Liam Lawson now takes control of the championship lead ahead of Sunday’s Feature Race after previous championship leader, Théo Pourchaire was unable to make it into the points.