F2: Armstrong heads Lawson to win opening Saudi Arabian Sprint Race
Ferrari junior Marcus Armstrong clinched a long-awaited and well-deserved first Formula 2 victory in Sprint Race 1, beating Red Bull juniors Liam Lawson and Juri Vips in an enthralling opening race at Jeddah.
Since starting his F2 career off with two podiums in the opening two rounds of 2020, the 2019 Formula 3 vice-champion has only taken one more top-three finish, with a switch from ART to DAMS failing to re-ignite his fortunes.
But after a two-month break, the Kiwi looked rejuvenated in the opening race at Jeddah as a lightning getaway saw him edge ahead of reverse pole-sitter Lawson following some intense wheel-to-wheel action around the first three turns.
The duo remained in that order from there, the two New Zealanders leaving the rest behind them to provide the entertainment during a frenetic 20 laps.
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Juri Vips beat Felipe Drugovich to the final podium spot. Climbing six places, Jehan Daruvala looked to have enjoyed a superb afternoon, but the Red Bull junior was slapped with a five-second time penalty after the race for his off-the-road overtake on Carlin team mate Dan Ticktum, dropping him fifth to 10th.
Ferrari junior Shwartzman, Alpine Academy driver Christian Lundgaard and Ticktum took fifth, sixth and seventh, whilst championship leader Oscar Piastri salvaged a point, despite being passed on the last lap by Ticktum. The 2022 Alpine reserve driver was promoted from ninth to eighth after Daruvala’s post-race penalty.
Alfa Romeo's 2022 Formula 1 driver Guanyu Zhou suffered a race to forget, spinning in the early stage and ending up 17th.
Daruvala will get the chance to make amends from reverse grid pole in Sprint Race 2 at 2140 local time. The Feature Race takes place at 1725 local time, the grid set by Friday’s Qualifying session.