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Vesti F2 Barcelona

F2 Sprint Race in Barcelona sees Vesti take the win with rain and safety cars

The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is a track that all Formula 2 drivers are familiar with both from testing and racing previously at the track

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Formula 2 returned to Barcelona for Round Seven of the season, which saw Frederik Vesti take another victory alongside podium-sitters Théo Pourchaire and Victor Martins. 

Bearman Barcelona F2 Formula 2 Vesti Pourchaire
Oliver Bearman takes pole position for PREMA in Barcelona (Credit: Twitter @Formula2)

Heading into the weekend in Barcelona, Frederik Vesti of PREMA Racing was leading the championship ahead of his former teammate Théo Pourchaire. However, in Qualifying yesterday, it was Vesti’s teammate, Oliver Bearman, who took pole position, making it his second Formula 2 pole position – this time though, he didn’t have a bent steering wheel.

Whilst Bearman took pole position, it was Rodin Carlin’s Enzo Fittipaldi and Invicta Virtuosi Racing’s Jack Doohan, who joined him in the top three with the Brazilian in P2 and Doohan in P3. With the reverse grid for today’s Sprint Race, these three started the race from P8 to P10.

However, Pourchaire received a post-qualifying penalty. The ART Grand Prix driver was found to be guilty of impeding Dennis Hauger. As a result, Pourchaire has dropped three places on the grid, putting him in ninth for the Sprint Race.

One thing to note ahead of the Sprint Race is that the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya has seen some track changes this year. Most notable, the final chicane has been removed and now there are two high-speed corners.

So let’s see what happened in the Sprint Race around Barcelona for F2.

Lights Out

In Formula One’s FP3, the rain arrived over the circuit. Consequently, the Sprint Race began behind the Safety Car with all drivers on full-wet tyres.

With a rolling start, Amaury Cordeel put his foot down and kept the lead ahead of Jak Crawford. However, Vesti was chasing Crawford, going two wide into Turn 1. The Dane was forced into the escape road and re-joined once going round the bollards.

Unfortunately, for Crawford, he seemed to have suffered a puncture. Further down the field, Pourchaire and Ayumu Iwasa made contact, resulting in the DAMS driver losing a couple of positions.

On to lap two, the top 10 were Cordeel, Vesti, Martins, Hauger, Doohan, Pourchaire, Bearman, Verschoor, Fittipaldi and Iwasa. The collision between Vesti and Crawford was noted by the stewards, but ultimately, no further investigation was required.

But whilst Crawford came into the pits and was out of the Sprint Race, the race lead switched hands. Cordeel went wide, which allowed Vesti to sail past and turn P2 into P1.

Victor Martins, who brought out the red flag yesterday in free practice, followed Vesti’s moves and overtook Cordeel as well. Down at the back of the field, Brad Benavides attempted an overtake on Ralph Boschung; however, he ended up going into the gravel, and coming back on track, remaining in P22.

The track starts to dry

On lap eight, track conditions began to change as Iwasa and Enzo Fittipaldi went head to head. Iwasa managed to overtake his fellow Red Bull Junior and got into P9.

As the rain began to lessen, drivers were instructed by their teams to start looking for dry patches on the track surface.

Pourchaire, who is a championship contender this year, battled with Doohan on lap 11. The Australian driver was ahead but Pourchaire managed to overtake into Turn 12, going on the outside. Pourchaire was then up to fifth and created a 1.515 second gap to Doohan.

With Doohan now in sixth, Bearman, who starts on pole tomorrow, was chasing the Invicta Virtuosi car. Doohan’s teammate, Cordeel, ended up going into the gravel and consequently, Doohan was able to get past Cordeel just before he re-joined the track.

Kush Maini, who has been the most consistent driver this season, radioed to his team on lap 13. The Campos Racing driver admitted he felt it was time to switch to slick tyres.

However, Campos were hesitant to get Maini to change onto slicks. For Zane Maloney, though, Carlin advised him to push to try and remove some of the rubber on his wet weather tyres.

Yellow flags

Ronan Stanek of Trident attempted an overtake on Juan Manuel Correa at Turn 1. But sadly, the brave attempt didn’t work out as the front wing of Correa clipped Stanek’s tyres, causing him to spin.

Thankfully, Stanek was able to get going again around Barcelona.

Final 10 laps

On lap 17, Maini went for it and came into the pits. The Campos driver changed onto slicks as well as Maloney and MP Motorsport’s Jehan Daruvala.

Coming out of the pits and into Turn 3, Maini had a close call with a snap of understeer. But he kept it going. Afterwards, Correa and Benavides pit for new tyres as well.

The slick tyres were working for Daruvala but for Correa it was a different story. The Van Amersfoort driver ended up beaching himself into the gravel.

F2 Barcelona Rain Safety Car Vesti Doohan
Juan Manuel Correa in the gravel during F2 Sprint Race in Barcelona (Credit: Twitter @Formula2)

Race control brought out the Virtual Safety Car, which prompted other drivers to pit, such as Pourchaire, who came out of the pits in 10th.

On lap 20, the full Safety Car was introduced.

At this point, Vesti had come into the pits to change onto slicks as well as Martins and the rest of the top drivers.

Under the Safety Car, the order of drivers in the points after all the pitstops, was: Vesti, Martins, Hauger, Pourchaire, Doohan, Verschoor, Bearman, Cordeel.

Safety Car Restart

The Safety Car came in at the end of lap 23. Vesti got the jump on Martins behind him. Unfortunately, for Hauger, Pourchaire was able to overtake him, which was soon followed by Pourchaire reaching P2 as he overtook his teammate, Martins, as well.

With the remainder of the race switching to the clock, not number of laps, Vesti still had the lead. But Pourchaire was closing in.

Sadly for the Frenchman, he wasn’t able to overtake Vesti for the win. Further down the pack, Roy Nissany and Daruvala collided, forcing the MP Motorsport driver into the gravel, bringing out the yellow flags at the final moments of the race.

Results

Vesti finished the Barcelona Sprint Race in P1 with Pourchaire and Martins finishing on the podium behind him.

Point-Scorers (Top Eight)

1 – Vesti

2 – Pourchaire

3 – Martins

4 – Hauger

5 – Doohan

6 – Verschoor

7 – Bearman

8 – Iwasa

Headline Image: GettyImages

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