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F2: Frederik Vesti Reignites Championship Hopes With Sprint Race Victory

Written by Jasmin Low, Edited by Juan Arroyo

F2: Frederik Vesti Reignites Championship Hopes With Sprint Race Victory
Credit: Prema Racing

The Temple of Speed put on a spectacle of Formula 2 action—with a superb sprint race performance from Frederik Vesti, and a persistent performance from Théo Pourchaire.

There was drama from the first corner, where Ralph Boschung—who started from reverse-grid pole—locked up and went deep. leading him to drop down the order. Victor Martins and Oliver Bearman came together in a tight squeeze, reflecting the events of the previous race weekend in Zandvoort.

Championship leader Theo Pourchaire made contact with Jak Crawford, as Vesti took the lead of the race from Richard Verschoor, a lead which he managed to hang on to for the remaining 20 trips around the famous Italian circuit.

Amaury Cordeel was spun around by Zane Maloney at the Ascari chicane in the opening lap as well. Cordeel retired from the incident, which brought out the safety car.

The race restarted on Lap 5 with Vesti leading the pack. Boschung continued to tumble down the race order before making a rare mid-sprint pit stop for supersoft tyres.

On Lap 8, ART’s Victor Martins overtook Kush Maini for third place. The first black and white flag was shown to Jak Crawford while defending from Pourchaire. The American driver was later dealt a five-second time penalty. Isack Hadjar later received the same penalty, leaving both Hitech drivers outside the top eight points-scoring positions.

By the eleventh lap, Martins started to put pressure on Verschoor and Vesti, clocking in multiple fastest laps. The Frenchman eventually pulled off the move on Verschoor for second place one lap later. Behind, Juan Manuel Correa and Roy Nissany came together twice in the first sector; on the second occasion, Nissany was spun onto the gravel adjacent to Variante della Roggia. The PHM driver retired, bringing out the safety car for a second time, whilst Correa was given a 10-second time penalty.

Ayumu Iwasa endured a fourth race without points as he retired with a mechanical failure. The DAMS driver’s championship hopes have now been put in the balance. He sits third in the drivers’ standings going into the weekend—with the chasing pack increasingly close behind.

The safety car period ended and Vesti made another successful restart keeping Martins at a distance. Martins remained within a second to Vesti for the duration of the race, but could not overtake the Danish driver despite his best efforts.

Dennis Hauger was involved in a near-collision on Lap 16, reeling off into the gravel at the Ascari chicane. The MP Motorsport driver narrowly avoided the rear of Oliver Bearman when rejoining the track.

Vesti has reignited his championship hopes by taking victory today, but he will face a tougher challenge on Sunday when title rival Pourchaire starts on pole position. Meanwhile, Martins’ and Pourchaire’s second and fourth places extended ART’s lead to Prema in the teams’ championship. Richard Verschoor rounded out the podium; he will be celebrating his third-placed finish to Van Amersfoort Racing's record.

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