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Franco Colapinto clinches maiden victory after last lap overtake in Imola

Written by Caitlyn Gordon, Edited by Vyas Ponnuri

Credit: Formula 2

Formula 2 took to the Imola circuit for its sprint race. The weekend started with Paul Aron topping the timing sheets in practice. However, when it came to qualifying, the Estonian couldn’t convert his pace, and landed himself in eighth. 

Gabriel Bortoleto was the man to beat in qualifying, dominating throughout the session without putting a foot wrong. A majority of the grid struggled with track limits, notably Bearman and Antonelli, who were sitting in second and fourth respectively before their times were deleted dropping them to 16th and 18th.

Aron, Cordeel, and Colapinto were also victims of track limits violations. However, a few hours later all five of the drivers had their times reinstated. This means, Bortoleto, Bearman, and Hadjar start from the front of the grid for Sunday.

Saturday’s sprint saw the top ten reversed, which saw Cordeel start from pole position, with Colapinto and Aron just behind. So, how did the sprint unfold?

First corner chaos

The first lap incident with Stanêk and Hauger pictured; Credits: Formula 2

As the lights went out, the 22 drivers headed into the first corner. However, much like F3, some unlucky drivers didn’t escape from Tamburello unscathed.

Chaos ensued with crashes involving several cars, seeing Hadjar, Dürksen, Fittipaldi, Hauger, and Stanêk all having their race cut short. 

The incident occurred with Antonelli having a tough start, dropping from sixth to 12th. This set off a domino effect, with Stanêk hitting Hauger, causing the Norwegian to spin off. Looking to avoid the mayhem, Dürksen braked, leaving Hadjar and Fittipaldi nowhere to go.

In the midst of it all, Aron took the lead of the race, after a late break saw the Estonian grab first place. The remainder of the grid followed the safety car until lap five, when racing action began.

Aron bolted away early, opening up a lead of almost a second into the first corner after catching his teammate off guard. Cordeel ran wide the following lap, allowing Colapinto to snatch the position. 

It has been a difficult weekend for Red Bull’s Pepe Martí, who was handed a 10-second penalty for a starting procedure infringement, which he served on lap 11.

Bortoleto was on the hunt for Bearman up in fifth, staying within DRS and cutting down the gap. At the front, Aron and Colapinto were also within DRS range. Colapinto set the fastest lap on lap 15, though Aron held on, unable to shake off the hungry Argentianian.

The other Hitech driver running in third was having a great race after defending against the championship leader Maloney for the majority of the race. The Bajan was putting pressure on Cordeel, who wasn’t succumbing to the pressure of the Rodin racer.

After several laps of building momentum, Maloney made the move on Cordeel with two laps to go, grabbing the podium position from him.

Colapinto makes the move on Aron; Credits: Formula 2

Colapinto decided to get his elbows out and throw everything he had at a last attempt for the win. Aron looked secure, but a late mistake allowed Colapinto to pounce and take the position 

The Argentinian crossed the line first, securing his maiden victory in F2 — a valiant effort from the junior who conserved his tyres and waited for the right moment to make the move. Aron and Maloney rounded out the top three.

Following the race, Taylor Barnard was disqualified due to a technical infringement. The AIX Racing driver was reported for an alleged failure to engage the start set-up procedure during the formation lap of the sprint race. Subsequently, Kush Maini moved up into eighth place, and secured the final point scoring position.

Final classification

The top three from the Imola sprint race; Credits: Formula 2

1 - Franco Colapinto

2 - Paul Aron

3 - Zane Maloney

4 - Amaury Cordeel

5 - Oliver Bearman

6 - Gabriel Bortoleto

7 - Richard Verschoor

8 - Kush Maini

9 - Zak O’Sullivan

10 - Kimi Antonelli

11 - Rafael Villagómez

12 - Victor Martins

13 - Ritmo Miyata

14 - Jak Crawford

15 - Juan Manual Correra

16 - Josep Maria Martí

DNF - Joshua Dürksen

DNF - Dennis Hauger

DNF - Enzo Fittipaldi

DNF - Roman Stanêk

DNF - Isack Hadjar

DSQ- Taylor Barnard


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