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F2 car on track at Baku City Circuit

F2 Sprint results: Baku

There's mayhem right off the line in a race that saw only 11 cars finish

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Ollie Bearman takes his first F2 win as chaos on the final few laps completely reshuffles the order. 

Hauger, Martins and Daruvala get caught up in an incident at the F2 sprint in Baku
Chaos in the final moments of the race handed Prema a 1-2. All drivers were unharmed. (Image credit: @Formula2 on Twitter)

Anything can happen around the streets of Baku, and teams were expecting the race to throw a “couple of curveballs” at them. ART Grand Prix driver Victor Martins highlighted the importance of taking a somewhat cautious approach to the sprint. “It’s messy and entertaining here,” he said. “So we need to keep calm and to be patient.”

As we head into the fourth sprint of the season, Dams driver Ayumu Iwasa leads the championship standings. Only eight points behind him is ART Grand Prix’s Théo Pourchaire, while Prema Racing driver Frederik Vesti rounds out the top three. 

The starting grid

Pourchaire started the sprint from P11 after he was handed down a three-place grid penalty. The French driver was found to have impeded Kush Maini during qualifying yesterday. One man’s loss is another man’s gain — Fittipaldi, Boschung, and polesitter Ollie Bearman were all promoted up a grid spot as a result. 

Lights out — and it’s chaos immediately

There was contact right off the line, as Martins and Maloney collided. Reverse polesitter Verschoor lost the lead to Maloney, and in the process made contact with the back of Maloney’s car. The two tumbled down the order, their race immediately unravelling.

Damage sustained to the front of his car meant that Richard Verschoor had to retire. Zane Maloney, meanwhile, made a trip to the pits after picking up a puncture.

In and amongst all the chaos, Hauger – who started P6 – took the lead before he’d even reached Turn 7. Track conditions seemed difficult, as a lack of grip was proving a major challenge for the drivers.

Lap 3 saw Ralph Boschung make contact with the wall at Turn 9, bringing his race to an early end. Out came the safety car, and Zane Maloney took this opportunity to retire from the race too.

That’s Boschung, Maloney and Verschoor all out of the race before lap 5. Meanwhile, the order behind the safety saw Dennis Hauger still in the lead, with Martins and Daruvula following.

Racing is back underway

The safety car came in on lap 6, and Hauger got away safely, maintaining the race lead. Frederik Vesti was quick to begin closing the gap to Daruvala. The Prema driver was right on the back of Daruvala, as Martins and Hauger got away from the rest of the pack.

Stanek had a moment on lap 7, narrowly avoiding contact with the Tecpro barriers. At the back of the pack, in P17, was Ayumu Iwasa. The championship leader was still yet to make any major moves up the order.

Ollie Bearman was now making his way up the grid, overtaking Crawford for P5 on lap 9. Up at the front, Hauger had an eight-tenths lead on Martins. Jehan Daruvala continued to hold off Frederik Vesti, but the Prema driver was making sure to keep the pressure on.

Lap 10 saw Vesti finally get past Daruvala, leaving the MP Motorsport driver vulnerable to teammate Bearman. Only a lap later, Bearman passed Daruvala under DRS, slipping up into fourth.

The halfway point

There’s an alarming puff of smoke from Ayumu Iwasa’s car on lap 12, and the championship leader was forced to retire from the race. Arthur Leclerc began to challenge Fittipaldi for P9, whilst Bearman set the fastest lap so far.

Yellow flags waved once more as Roy Nissany made contact with the wall as he went deep into Turn 15. Out came the safety car as the marshalls began to recover Nissany’s car.

The top five under the safety car: Hauger, Martins, Vesti, Bearman, and Daruvala. Zane Maloney ended up retiring his car, after having been driving around a lap down following his incident earlier on.

Chaos on the restart

Only three laps remained as the safety car comes in. Hauger reacted well initially, holding onto the lead as the battle for first commenced.

And then the order fell apart as one incident saw us lose six cars in an instant. Both Hauger and Martins lost it into Turn 1, making contact with the wall. Daruvala was left with nowhere to go, crashing underneath Martins in quite scary scenes.

Also caught up in the chaos were Arthur Leclerc and Théo Pourchaire, who both ran wide, taking themselves out of contention. As if that wasn’t enough, Jack Doohan then spun out. All drivers were thankfully unharmed.

The two Premas got away unscathed, as Bearman began to challenge Vesti for the lead. It’s Bearman who got the better entrance into Turn 4, taking the race lead out from underneath his teammate.

Ollie Bearman took his first F2 win as the race came to an end under the safety car. He’s on pole position for tomorrow’s feature race — can the Brit make it back-to-back race wins?

Sprint race results
  1. Ollie Bearman
  2. Frederik Vesti
  3. Jack Crawford
  4. Kush Maini
  5. Enzo Fittipaldi
  6. Juan Manuel Correa
  7. Clement Novalak
  8. Isack Hadjar
  9. Roman Stanek
  10. Amaury Cordeel
  11. Brad Benavides
  12. Dennis Hauger (DNF)
  13. Victor Martins (DNF)
  14. Jehan Daruvala (DNF)
  15. Théo Pourchaire (DNF)
  16. Arthur Leclerc (DNF)
  17. Jack Doohan (DNF)

Featured Image Credit: Formula 2 on Twitter

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