Frederick Vesti’s championship hopes suffered a major blow in Monza as he crashed out of the feature race on the first lap, allowing his championship rival, Theo Pouchaire, to gain sixteen points on him and extend his championship lead to twenty-five points with just one more round remaining.
Vesti’s teammate, Oliver Bearman, delivered a dominant display in a race filled with safety car periods to secure victory, with Ayumu Iwasa making a remarkable charge to claim second place.
Pouchaire began the race from pole position, while his championship rival started at the rear of the field. It was crucial for Pouchaire to make a strong start, but Bearman executed an even better one. Heading into turn 1, Bearman made a daring move down the inside to snatch the lead, pushing Pouchaire back into the clutches of the chasing pack.
As the field navigated through the Della Roggia chicane and into Lesmo 1, Vesti attempted to follow Victor Martins and overtake Roman Stanek. However, Stanek defended his position, making two defensive moves to block Vesti, ultimately forcing Vesti onto the damp grass. Vesti kept his foot on the gas in an attempt to rejoin the track but lost control, spinning into the middle of the track and colliding with the wall. Remarkably, the rest of the pack managed to avoid him, but the race had to be halted with a safety car due to the chaotic and dramatic start. Vesti’s despair was evident over the radio as he buried his head in his hands beside the track. Now, Vesti must rely on a miracle in Abu Dhabi if he hopes to contend for the FIA Formula 2 championship this year.
Further up the field, Clement Novalak spun his Trident at the second Lesmo, and Isack Hadjar suffered front wing damage following a collision with Victor Martins at the first corner. Amaury Cordeel’s challenging weekend continued into the feature race, as contact with Josh Mason forced him to limp back to the pits with a puncture, relegating him to nearly a lap down at the back of the field—a weekend to forget for the Belgian driver.
After the safety car period, it was Bearman’s turn to lead the field during the restart. As he accelerated out of the final turn, he caught Pouchaire off guard, leaving Pouchaire battling with his teammate, Victor Martins, in the background. While the race seemed relatively well-behaved by Formula 2 standards, a brake failure for Arthur Leclerc on lap 7 sent him careening down the escape road at turn 1, resulting in a spin that obliterated the polystyrene boards and left his car stranded by the side of the track. Another safety car period was necessary, and this time, drivers took the opportunity to make their mandatory pit stops.
Only four drivers stayed out—Jehan Daruvala, Jack Doohan, Ayumu Iwasa, and Isack Hadjar—all hoping for a later safety car that would allow them to switch to fresh tires and mount a charge through the field in the later stages. However, the safety car made a reappearance sooner than expected. As drivers jockeyed for position down the back straight, Roy Nissany got too close to the rear of Zane Maloney’s car, sending the rookie hurtling into the barriers in a frightening high-speed crash. Fortunately, the young driver emerged unharmed and walked away from the wreckage. Roy later received a severe drive-through penalty for what the stewards deemed a dangerous maneuver.
This left the top four drivers with a decision to make: pit or stay out. All of them chose to stay out, except for the leader, Jehan Daruvala, who pitted and managed to rejoin the race in fourth place. As a result, Iwasa inherited the race lead.
With just four laps remaining, the race would be a sprint to the checkered flag. Bearman led the field once more, followed by Pouchaire and Iwasa. However, all eyes were on Jack Doohan, who had just pitted for fresh rubber and sat in tenth position, ready to launch a charge. As the safety car pulled in, Iwasa was the first to attack, attempting an overtake on Theo Pouchaire by diving down the inside and aiming for the lead.
With two laps to go, Iwasa closed in on Bearman, while Doohan had already advanced to seventh place. However, the race was brought to an abrupt end after Crawford pulled off the track with rear suspension damage following contact with Roman Stanek. Another safety car was required, but this time, there was not enough time left in the race to withdraw it, meaning the race would finish under safety car conditions.
Bearman crossed the finish line to claim another victory in what had been a dominant yet challenging race for the young Brit. Iwasa secured second place in an impressive performance, despite starting fifteenth on the grid. Pouchaire earned sixteen valuable points to extend his championship lead as he heads into the final round in Abu Dhabi. Richard Verschoor, capping off a decent weekend for the VAR team, secured a respectable third place. Enzo Fittipaldi finished fifth, followed by Dennis Hauger, both of whom fared better in the feature race than in the sprint races. Jack Doohan expressed frustration with the timing of the safety car and believed he could have advanced further than seventh. Juan Manuel Correa finished eighth, followed by Amaury Cordeel, who benefitted from the safety car periods and an early pit stop, rounding out the top ten.
With only one round remaining in Abu Dhabi, Frederik Vesti is undoubtedly hoping for a major points swing to rekindle his championship aspirations at the Yas Marina Circuit.