Written by Jasmin Low, Edited by Meghana Sree
The Dutch national anthem rang out over the Red Bull Ring after Richard Verschoor climbed from 11th on the grid to take a stunning victory after a dramatic race. The hills were alive with the roar of fans cheering Verschoor on in an inspired overtake on race leader Frederik Vesti during the penultimate lap of the race, which ultimately saw him seal his first feature-race win in Formula 2.
Pole sitter Victor Martins lost the race lead to championship leader Frederik Vesti and was also overtaken by Theo Pourchaire during the race start, losing four positions in the first two laps, eventually finishing the race in ninth place. Enzo Fittipaldi, who was on the alternate tyre strategy, climbed through the field as the leading cars’ supersoft tyres fell away, going on to lead for much of the race. This was until an unfortunate safety car, brought out during lap 28 when Arthur Leclerc’s wheel fell off just after his mandatory pit stop, which saw Fittipaldi finish in sixth place.
As has been the case for all categories racing in Austria this weekend, track limits continued to be a problem for the F2 drivers as Jack Doohan was the first to be shown the black and white flag on lap 16, less than halfway through the race. However, Kush Maini was the first to be given a five-second time penalty for exceeding track limits. Dennis Hauger was also handed a five-second penalty for crossing the white line when entering the pits.
Eventual race-winner Richard Verschoor was also handed a penalty for track-limits on lap 27, which was then cancelled the following lap. He then went on to overtake Theo Pourchaire for third place on lap 33. Maini’s contact with Hauger saw his race end with a puncture, and the VSC (Virtual Safety Car) was deployed for a short period of time. After the VSC ended, Verschoor overtook Doohan for second place on lap 38. Vesti, who had held on to the net race lead since the beginning, was set to take yet another victory until he was overtaken by both Verschoor and Ayumu Iwasa on the 39th lap.
Verschoor managed to win from 11th on the grid, in an emotional first feature-race victory, and the first victory for his team, Van Amersfoort Racing, since they joined F2 in 2022. The Dutchman lost his maiden feature race win in Austria last year when he was disqualified for being unable to provide a sufficient fuel sample in post-race scrutineering.
This Austrian ‘Redemption Race’ leaves Verschoor fifth in the drivers’ standings, as Oliver Bearman holds onto fourth in the championship after making up 14 places, starting from 19th on the grid and finishing fifth after going on the alternate tyre strategy.
Vesti still holds on to first place in the driver’s standings, 20 points ahead of current runner-up Pourchaire, who finished the race in seventh. Iwasa, who finished second, sits just four points behind Pourchaire in the standings.