NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JULY 08: Frederik Vesti of Denmark and PREMA Racing (7) leads the field at the start during the Round 9:Silverstone Sprint race of the Formula 2 Championship at Silverstone Circuit on July 08, 2023 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images)
F2 Sprint Race results: Silverstone
Find out what happened in the first race of the weekend for Formula 2 in Silverstone
Frederik Vesti took a dominant Sprint Race win on a very wet Silverstone Circuit.
A wet start and Bearman’s charge
By the formation lap the rain that plagued the circuit had stopped, but an excess of standing water on the track made for a very wet start to the Sprint Race. There was, in fact, so much water on the track that three formation laps were run before an eventual rolling start was called.
Frederik Vesti led the drivers to green at the start, maintaining first place as Isack Hadjar and Theo Pourchaire slotted in behind him.
It only took a few corners for the first car to find trouble, with Brad Benavides spinning into the path of a slowing Ayumu Iwasa, who was suffering from a mechanical issue. The Safety Car was called out on the first lap, but not before Oliver Bearman overtook Enzo Fittipaldi for fourth place.
After two laps under the Safety Car, Formula 2 was back to racing again, and Bearman was back on the move. On Lap 4 he passed both Pourchaire and Hadjar to grab second place, and started to chase down his PREMA Racing teammate Vesti.
Bearman’s initial charge came to an end on Lap 6, when he spun at the final corner and lost second and eventually third place back to Hadjar and Pourchaire.
A little further down the field Fittpaldi and Jack Doohan were in the midst a tense battle for fifth place. Their scrap lasted for the better part of the lap, with Doohan eventually claiming the spot.
By Lap 10 Vesti had pulled over a seven-second gap to Hadjar in second, and was comfortably in the lead.
But Doohan, now well past Fittipaldi, was ready to make a pass at Bearman. But Bearman fought hard against him and stayed ahead for a time.
Pourchaire, who had been slowly gaining on Hadjar for several laps, was close enough to overtake him and pulled the move for second place off on Lap 12. Hadjar fell into a comfortable third, but behind him, Bearman was still under pressure from the Invicta Virtuosi car of Doohan.
At Stowe corner Doohan had another close look at Bearman, who defended very zealously. Bearman kept the place but Doohan was more than unhappy with the move and race control took note of the incident.
In the meanwhile, Hadjar had lost a little pace and soon was within Bearman’s clutched. Slipping out from the pressured battle with Doohan, the British rookie made his way passed Hadjar and left him to deal with the charging Doohan.
Doohan vs. Bearman… still
After a stout defense from Hadjar, Doohan was past him and back in the hunt to finally overtake Bearman. But with just two laps left to run in the Sprint, time was running out for him to make his move.
Finally for Doohan, Bearman made a mistake at the final corner of Lap 17 and went off the track, allowing the Australian driver up into the podium positions. Bearman, after laps of hard defense, dropped down to sixth place and had to defend from ART Grand Prix’s Victor Martins.
On the final lap Vesti came to the chequered flag to win by over 13 seconds over Pourchaire and Doohan. Fittipaldi came in fourth ahead of Hadjar and Bearman. The final points for the day went to Martins and Arthur Leclerc.
Full results for the Formula 2 Sprint Race can be found here.
Feature Image Credit: Joe Portlock – Getty Images
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