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F2 Silverstone: Vesti Wins Epic Sprint Race in the Wet

Written by Jasmin Low, Edited by Vyas Ponnuri

Credit: Dan Istitene/Getty Images

A sodden Silverstone played host to an epic Formula 2 sprint race, a shortened race that saw many battles for the podium and coveted points. Frederik Vesti took yet another convincing victory from reverse-grid pole position, finishing almost 13.5 seconds ahead of his championship rival, second-placed Theo Pourchaire.


The race was shortened to just 19 laps and saw a rolling start, after wet weather plagued the region and caused difficult conditions for the drivers.


The race was action-packed right from the first lap, when Brad Benavides spun off after contact with Clement Novalak, and Ayumu Iwasa made an early return to the pits as issues slowed his car down, putting him a lap down, and out of contention for points.


Hometown hero Oliver Bearman was on an early charge, overtaking Enzo Fittipaldi for fourth place before the safety car was called out.


The safety car restart on lap 4 saw Bearman continue to gain places, overtaking Pourchaire and Isack Hadjar with bold moves, sparking brief hopes of a Prema 1-2. Although, it wasn't meant to be for Bearman, spinning at the final corner on lap seven, allowing Hadjar to regain second place, with Pourchaire overtaking the hometown hero on the next lap. Novalak was slapped with a five-second time penalty for causing a collision with Benavides. In the meantime, Victor Martins battled Enzo Fittipaldi in some stellar wheel-to-wheel racing, lasting almost 10 corners.


On lap 11, Jack Doohan in the Virtuosi car began to pressure the slowing Bearman, with the Prema driver stubbornly holding on to his position. Pourchaire then overtook Hadjar for second place, in a move identical to his overtake on Bearman earlier.


Lap 14 saw Doohan almost complete an overtake on Bearman, but was forced wide, with Bearman noted for forcing another driver off of the track. Lap 15 was a crucial point in the Bearman-Doohan battle, as the pair closed down on Hadjar, bringing on a brief hiatus from the on-track action as Bearman put one car between him and Doohan, but meaning that there were 6 cars with the potential to fight for the last step on the podium.


Lap 17 saw Bearman and Doohan do battle once again. Bearman's stout defence exasperated Doohan, as he was constantly pushed to the edge of the track. Doohan finally made it past Bearman on the penultimate lap, after the cars made contact, with Bearman trying to keep his position but eventually locking up and running into the gravel. Bearman's off also allowed Fittipaldi and Hadjar through, pushing Bearman down to sixth, and noting him for rejoining the track unsafely, which could see him handed a penalty for Sunday’s feature race.


Despite the close battles lasting most of the race, Vesti finished 13.5 seconds ahead of Pourchaire, winning for the fifth time, extending his championship lead. Doohan took third place after a hard-fought battle, and Arthur Leclerc rounded out the points in 8th place. Despite his early problems, Iwasa could take solace from the race, with a fastest lap towards the end of the race.


Whilst it was a straightforward victory for Vesti today, he faces a bigger test for the feature race, starting from 10th place, following multiple red flags and an engine failure in qualifying.


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