F2 FEATURE RACE
The Hungaroring faithful were treated to a race of two halves, with the weather playing its part in what proved to be a thoroughly exciting showdown. It wasn’t without incident either, with a frantic finale ensuring we were kept on the edge of our seats until the very end.
McLaren junior Nyck de Vries was the victor, the Prema driver producing a stunning performance in dry conditions to claim his second victory of the season. But it wasn’t plain sailing for the Dutch youngster, with fellow McLaren junior Lando Norris dominating the opening wet phase of the race.
Norris was en route to what would have been a superb triumph, given he dropped down to ninth at the start, and at one stage he held a 14-second advantage over De Vries. However, when the track dried and the drivers switched from wets to slicks, the Prema driver delivered a storming performance to finish 16s clear of the chasing pack.
Speaking of which, there was an enthralling battle to finish second, with a nail-biting, three-way tussle between Norris, Antonio Fuoco and Sergio Sette Camara occuring in the latter stages. The result was a penultimate-corner clash between Fuoco and Sette Camara after the latter attempted to attack Norris for second, as shown below. The Brazilian was later hit with a 10-second penalty, dropping him to seventh, and promoting Fuoco to third.
While Norris will be chuffed with second, fellow Brit George Russell endured a tough opening race in Hungary. He was forced to start from the pits, after failing to make the grid for the formation lap, and then a throttle issue in his ART ultimately ended his race, giving his championship rivals a chance to put the pressure on - and that they did...
So a wet race ensured a lively encounter. Would it be more of the same in the Sprint Race?
F2 SPRINT RACE
The F2 drivers picked up where they left off in Hungary, playing their part in another action-packed race to cap off a brilliant weekend of competition. It was won by Alexander Albon, who played a waiting game to snatch victory from Luca Ghiotto.
The victorious DAMS driver managed his pace and tyres superbly, biding his time before passing Ghiotto - whose lightning start allowed him to make up two spots and claim the lead - with five laps remaining to cross the finishing line 9.5s ahead of his rival. Behind them, Sette Camara bounced back from his Feature Race setback to clinch third place.
Another driver to enjoy a better Sunday was Mercedes junior Russell, who started from the back of the grid. He delivered a mature drive to force his way through the pack, finishing in eighth to steal the final championship point - incidentally his only one of the weekend.
For fans of overtaking, you’ll no doubt enjoy the sweeping move from fourth-placed Norris shown above, in which the highly-rated British talent went around the outside of De Vries and Artem Markelov in one corner.
Another highlight saw a photo finish between Nirei Fukuzumi and De Vries, the former sneaking it to claim sixth, and the Japanese driver will never get tired of rewatching that moment (which you'll see later on...).
A great end to a memorable race - and a well-earned rest now awaits for the F2 drivers…
GP3 FEATURE RACE
Dominant. That’s the only way to describe Nikita Mazepin’s performance, after the ART Grand Prix driver cruised to victory in the opening GP3 race of the weekend - his second triumph of the season.
Starting second on the grid, he soon stormed into the lead and ultimately won by a hefty 10.6s margin, with Leonardo Pulcini coming home second and polesitter Anthoine Hubert forced to settle for third.
It could have been so different for Hubert had he not produced an uncharacteristically poor start off the line, allowing both Mazepin and Pulcini to move ahead of him, and third was the best he could muster up in the end.
GP3 SRINT RACE
This second race of the GP3 weekend in Budapest served up another comfortable winner, with reverse-grid polesitter Dorian Boccolacci giving MP Motorsport their first win in the series.
The Frenchman didn’t have it all his own way, though, and was immediately put under pressure at Turn 1, but he stood firm to secure a memorable victory. The win would have tasted even sweeter following his Paul Ricard heartbreak, in which he was stripped of a triumph in front of his home fans.
The Art pair of Callum Ilott and Hubert - both of who are Renault affiliated drivers - came home behind to Boccolacci to complete the podium, with the former winning the battle of the two team mates.
DRIVER OF THE WEEKEND – Nyck De Vries
De Vries had won just once this season heading to Budapest, and how he needed a victory to keep the pressure on his top-five championship rivals.
It wasn’t looking so good for the McLaren junior in the wet, but then the track began to dry, and he delivered a truly sensational performance in his Prema to take home the win.
Once he took the lead on Lap 27, there was no stopping him, and you only have to look at his 16.5s advantage over Norris to see how blistering his second half of the race was. A great drive and a deserved Driver of the Weekend award!
Despite having a stellar weekend, De Vries would have been disappointed to lose out to Fukuzumi in the battle for sixth in the sprint race, with the video below showing just how tight it was...
THE KEY QUOTE
“The first half of the race for us was really good, I was enjoying it a lot but since our pit stop, it all kind of went downhill – I don’t know why, we didn’t focus on a wet set-up too much because we knew it would dry, and when it dries it dries pretty quickly. So yeah, we were still more focused on a dry set-up but we were still losing over a second a lap.
"It was very difficult, and I knew there was no point in fighting Nyck because you can end up in a worse position at the end of the race, and I knew I couldn’t go any faster. It’s frustrating because there was a lot of potential, Sergio was very fast again and we’ve been there all weekend. So we just need to try to get to the bottom of what the problem was." - Lando Norris, seen below driving in the wet.
Russell’s underwhelming weekend, in which he notched up just one point, means his championship lead over Norris has been cut to 12 points, with Albon 30 points behind the leader.
The top five in F2
|4||Artem Markelov||Russian Time||114|
|5||Nyck de Vries||Prema||114|
Hubert’s two third-place finishes in Hungary have helped him to extend his championship lead over Ilott to 15 points, with Pulcini holding onto P3 in the standings (but only just…).
The top five in GP3
Like the Formula 1 stars, the F2 and GP3 talents will now rest up before returning to action at the famous Spa-Francorchamps, host of the Belgian Grand Prix, on August 24-26.
For more information on the FIA Formula 2 Championship, click here.