Both Kiwi drivers, Liam Lawson and Marcus Armstrong struck trouble in the two FIA Formula 2 Sprint races overnight on the streets of Baku in Azerbaijan. Both finished the day with a seventh place and a retirement.
In the opening revers-top-ten Sprint race, Robert Shwartzman bounced back from a difficult start to the season to kickstart his title challenge, beating out Dan Ticktum by 5s, with Guanyu Zhou taking third place in the opening Sprint Race.
Contact between Liam Lawson and Oscar Piastri, after a tap from Felipe Drugovich, resulted in a further two retirements and a Safety Car. Drugovich escaped unscathed but was handed a 10s-time penalty for causing the collision.
Starting from reverse grid pole, Shwartzman began to deliver on that promise, with the Russian’s victory never once looking in doubt, despite a commanding charge through the field from street circuit expert Dan Ticktum, who was on the back of a Sprint Race 2 victory in Monaco.
Lining up in sixth, the two-time Macau Grand Prix winner picked off the first four in front of him with relative ease, but came unstuck against Shwartzman and was unable to bridge a 5s gap to the leader.
Guanyu Zhou retained his place at the top of the Drivers’ Championship with a fourth podium of the year, while Jehan Daruvala clung onto fourth, despite late pressure from Théo Pourchaire, who had recovered from a tricky start to take fifth. Ralph Boschung finished in sixth ahead of Armstrong.
Sprint Race 2
Hitech Grand Prix’s Jüri Vips kept his nose clean in a chaotic Sprint Race 2 in Baku to take his first-ever win, in Formula 2’s 100th race, putting on a controlled performance amongst multiple stoppages and six retirements, to finish ahead of Charouz Racing System’s David Beckmann and Carlin’s Jehan Daruvala.
Baku is proving to be somewhat of a kick-starter for pre-season title favourites in F2, with Vips joining Robert Shwartzman in taking a maiden win of the season, the duo both bouncing back after disappointing starts to the year.
It was far from plain sailing though, as the Estonian had to work hard for the win. Starting from third, the Hitech driver survived two Safety Car restarts while working his way past Bent Viscaal and David Beckmann.
Despite putting up a good fight, Charouz rookie Beckmann had to settle for second ahead of Daruvala, while reverse polesitter Viscaal dropped down to fourth.
Shwarztman followed up his maiden win with fifth ahead of Dan Ticktum, who recovered from an opening-lap crash to take sixth. Liam Lawson, having started in 20th position, made up 13 places to seventh, with Oscar Piasti taking the final points’ place.
The Feature race tonight will see Liam Lawson starting on pole.
Results Sprint Race 1
Cla Driver Team
1/ Robert Shwartzman Prema Powerteam
2/ Dan Ticktum Carlin
3/ Guanyu Zhou UNI-Virtuosi
4/ Jehan Daruvala Carlin
5/ Theo Pourchaire ART Grand Prix
6/ Ralph Boschung Campos Racing
7/ Marcus Armstrong DAMS
8/ Jüri Vips HitechGP
9/ David Beckmann Charouz Racing System
10/ Bent Viscaal Trident
11/ Christian Lundgaard ART Grand Prix
12/ Richard Verschoor MP Motorsport
13/ Lirim Zendeli MP Motorsport
14/ Felipe Drugovich UNI-Virtuosi
15/ Matteo Nannini Campos Racing
16/ Roy Nissany DAMS
17/ Guilherme Samaia Charouz Racing System
18/ Marino Sato Trident
Oscar Piastri Prema Powerteam
Liam Lawson HitechGP
Jack Aitken HWA Racelab
Alessio Deledda HWA Racelab
Results Sprint Race b
Cla Driver Team
1/ Jüri Vips HitechGP
2/ David Beckmann Charouz Racing System
3/ Jehan Daruvala Carlin
4/ Bent Viscaal Trident
5/ Robert Shwartzman Prema Powerteam
6/ Dan Ticktum Carlin
7/ Liam Lawson HitechGP
8/ Oscar Piastri Prema Powerteam
9/ Theo Pourchaire ART Grand Prix
10/ Felipe Drugovich UNI-Virtuosi
11/ Matteo Nannini Campos Racing
12/ Jack Aitken HWA Racelab
13/ Marino Sato Trident
14/ Guilherme Samaia Charouz Racing System
15/ Alessio Deledda HWA Racelab
16/ Roy Nissany DAMS
Marcus Armstrong DAMS
Christian Lundgaard ART Grand Prix
Richard Verschoor MP Motorsport
Ralph Boschung Campos Racing
Guanyu Zhou UNI-Virtuosi
Lirim Zendeli MP Motorsport