RACE DEBRIEF

    Dan Ticktum mastered a drying circuit in Sochi to convert reverse grid pole to victory in a delayed Formula 2 Sprint Race 1, dominating over Red Bull junior Jüri Vips and Ferrari prodigy Robert Shwartzman, after title contender Guanyu Zhou and his team mate Felipe Drugovich spun out on their way to the grid.

    The race was postponed on Saturday morning due to heavy rain and later confirmed in place of Saturday afternoon’s Sprint Race 2, which was subsequently cancelled.

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    Title rivals Oscar Piastri and Zhou had been set to line up in 12th and ninth on the reverse grid, but the latter spun on his way to the grid and stalled, forcing him to retire before the start of the race. Championship leader Piastri fought his way up to ninth, narrowly missing out on a points’ position.

    Zhou’s UNI-Virtuosi team mate Drugovich also spun on his way to the grid and thumped the wall. The Brazilian was taken to hospital as a precaution but has since been given the all-clear and released.

    The field ran two formation laps behind the Safety Car before being released for a rolling start, where Hitech Grand Prix and Red Bull junior team mates Juri Vips and Liam Lawson challenged Ticktum for the lead.

    But with just one dry racing line on the track, due to the earlier rainfall, the duo were wary of risking the wet surface and allowed the ex-Red Bull and Williams junior to build up an unassailable lead.

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    Lawson was later forced to retire with damage to the left rear of his car after a mistake at Turn 14, which promoted home hero Robert Shwartzman – who had started seventh – onto the podium.

    In fourth, Jake Hughes held off Sauber Academy driver Theo Pourchaire to take HWA RACELAB’s best-ever result in F2. Ralph Boschung kept control of his Campos despite several heavy lockups into Turn 2 for sixth, ahead of Alpine junior Christian Lundgaard and Richard Verschoor.

    Alpine junior Oscar Piastri will look to extend his Championship lead from pole in the Feature Race on Sunday morning at 1120 local time, the grid set by Friday’s qualifying session.

    For more on F2, visit the official F2 website.