UNI-Virtuosi Racing’s Guanyu Zhou won sprint FIA Formula 2 (F2) Championship race after red flag due to heavy shunt ended the proceedings early. 

Reverse grid pole-sitter UNI-Virtuosi Racing’s Guanyu Zhou made a good start in feature F2 race at Sochi with Campos Racing’s Jack Aitken going wheel-to-wheel as Hitech GP’s Nikita Mazepin dropped to third after a bad start off the line.

He had Carlin’s Jehan Daruvala to fend off which he managed to as Prema’s Mick Schumacher made a storming start to fourth. Hitech GP’s Luca Ghiotto was sixth with UNI-Virtuosi Racing’s Callum Ilott steadied in seventh from Carlin’s Yuki Tsunoda.

There was Virtual Safety Car deployed after a tangle between Campos’ Guilherme Samaia and HWA Racelab’s Jake Hughes after the Brazilian flew over the kerb to hit the Brit. As Zhou led the way, Aitken was the man in danger behind.

Mazepin made a quick work of him as Schumacher snatched third in a final corner move. Daruvala passed the Korean-Brit too but he used the Indian’s slipstream to retake the position at Turn 1, where the Carlin racer drifted onto the run-off.

He lost momentum as the following lap he had another drift moment where he lost to Ghiotto with Carlin teammate Yuki Tsunoda following suit. He re-joined straightway which could put him under investigation for not going to the left of the bollard.

The F2 race was soon red-flagged, though, after a heavy shunt between Aitken and Ghiotto at Turn 3 curve. The former lost a place to the latter at Turn 1 but he came back on him as they went side-by-side at Turn 3 curve at high speed.

The two touched as both Ghiotto and Aitken rammed onto the tyre barrier, even cutting across it. Both came unscathed but the Italian’s car was up in flames with the marshal coming in to douse it, while also repair the tyre barrier.

At red flag, Zhou led from Mazepin and Schumacher, with Tsunoda up to fourth from Daruvala, Ilott, DAMS’ Dan Ticktum, Charouz’s Pedro Piquet, Prema’s Robert Shwartzman and HWA Racelab’s Artem Markelov in the Top 10.

As expected, Daruvala was handed out a five seconds penalty for the Turn 1 incident, the same was handed to MP Motorsport’s Felipe Drugovich. The FIA also noted that the incident between Ghiotto and Aitken would be investigated after the race.

Even with a lengthy delay for repair job, the sprint F2 race was eventually called off with half points awarded to the Top 8 finishers. Zhou took his first win from Mazepin and Schumacher but the result post that included the drivers who crashed due to countback.

They took the result from Lap 5 with points awarded half of what they would get. As per that, Aitken kept fourth from Ghiotto despite crashing out, with Tsunoda, Ilott and Ticktum rounding out the Top 8 points scoring positions.

Piquet was ninth with Shwartzman 10th as Daruvala dropped to 11th with the time penalty – although it is unclear at the moment with the Indian probably going wide at the start of Lap 6 which is after the Lap 5 countback. Markelov slotted in 12th from ART Grand Prix pair of Christian Lundgaard and Marcus Armstrong as Trident’s Marino Sato rounded the Top 15.

Position 16-20: Giuliano Alesi, Louis Deletraz, Juri Vips, Roy Nissany, Durgovich. DNF: Hughes, Samaia.

 

Here’s how F2 feature race panned out