Robert Shwartzman has taken the first F2 win of the British Grand Prix weekend, leading all the way despite three Safety Car periods over the 21 laps.
Shwartzman made an incredible start, launching from fourth to first almost instantly. The race was neutralised soon afterwards, as two drivers came to a stop on the first lap.
The Safety Car was deployed after Nissany and pre-race championship leader Guanyu Zhou were involved in separate incidents. Nissany tangled with Lundgard, while Zhou spun by himself, coming to a stop and making a poor start to his weekend.
Oscar Piastri, who had claimed pole for tomorrow’s feature event and therefore started this race 10th, also made an excellent start, dodging past his spinning championship rival. He was challenging Liam Lawson for sixth when racing recommenced on lap three, but by lap four the Safety Car was out again.
This time HWA’s Alessio Deledda spun around on track after going side-by-side into Abbey with Marino Sato and, as in practice yesterday, was unable to get going again.
During the latest interruption Lawson complained “I’ve got no grip compared to these guys” as the field tried to get heat back into their tyres.
Shwartzman once again led the getaway on lap six. The battle for sixth place that had ignited between Lawson, Piastri and Ticktum was quickly resolved in Piastri’s favour, Lawson relegated in a fairly lacklustre tussle with Ticktum which saw neither make major progress during the remaining laps.
Guilherme Samaia ended up in gravel at Luffield, unable to recover onto the track, on lap 12 and a third Safety Car period was called. Richard Verschoor led Matteo Nannini, Bent Viscaal and Jack Aitken into the pits – all having run outside the top 10 – gambling on a chance to fit fresh rubber.
It proved disastrous for Aitken, however, whose front-right wheel stopped rotating as he headed out of his pit box. “There’s something under the front right, it’s locked” said Aitken. HWA’s mechanics were able to correct the problem but Aitken’s pit stop lost any advantage the fresh tyres might have given him.
Shwartzman held the lead at the restart on lap 14, and faced relatively little challenge to the chequered flag. Vips and Lundgaard followed him home to take second and third place, although with Lundgaard under investigation for the contact he made with Nissany at the start.
Piastri’s sixth-place finish, along with having claimed feature race pole and fastest lap in this first sprint race, means he leads the championship by two points to Shwartzman, both relegating former leader Zhou to third after his retirement.
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9 comments on “Superb start fires Shwartzman to opening F2 race win”
17th July 2021, 10:23
Other than Lawson’s defending the race was a bit boring and camera work turned if into snoozefest.
17th July 2021, 11:36
I can see why, SPR1 decides the grid for SPR2, so people might’ve been cautious. We might see more action in SPR2
17th July 2021, 13:16
It’s been the biggest flaw of F2/F3’s new format for sure. Taking risks in Sprint race 1 has double the downside as it ruins both race 1 and 2 if it goes wrong, and only gives a small amount of points if it goes well.
I understand they made the format changes mostly to save costs, but I’ve found myself switching off from races 1 and 2 as a result.
17th July 2021, 14:33
@ciaran SPR2 doesn’t decide the grid for the feature though, so that race can be an all out sprint like we used to have before. The issue is mainly with a sprint race (SPR1) deciding the grid for another race. In the earlier format, the feature race used to decide that, a race with a more merit basis to the grid position than SPR1, which had pitstops (so a strategic element), and was longer and awarded more points, which meant that it was a priority race to perform in.
They could tweak this format easily by having the feature race on Saturday, before the two sprints. The first sprint is decided by the reverse of the feature race. The second sprint is decided by 2nd fastest lap times from qualifying. So only 1 out of 3 is a reversed grid race, and people will not balk from taking chances as much as they are now.
I understand that the FIA maybe felt the need to have the feature race on the Sunday as the opening act to F1 so that it would be better viewed than a post-quali race that the feature used to be before, but with the format I prescribe they could easily have the feature before FP3, or move FP3 up by an hour and have the feature before qualifying. Also, Formula One should do a better job promoting F2, like during their own broadcast.
The worst example of the current format was actually Monaco SPR1. Drivers hanging back knowing they wouldn’t be overtaken, creating a gap in front of them, then going for the fastest lap. Dan Ticktum did a 1:22.0 between two laps on either side that were in the 1m28s. This is not racing, it’s almost actually ping pong.
17th July 2021, 14:46
@wsrgo I wouldn’t even go that far in terms of setting grids. I think the 1 change they should make is that the times from Quali set the grid for both SR1 and the FR. Whether that is the same grid order for both (excluding penalties obviously), or using second fastest times. I would rather see SR2 be a reverse grid than SR1 personally, as I would prefer it to be reversed by finishing order as opposed to Quali order. And that Monaco race is just you know, a feature of Monaco.
17th July 2021, 17:25
@randommallard That wasn’t just Monaco being Monaco though. It was a travesty and the worst mockery of a race I’ve ever seen. In fact Monaco SR2 was actually pretty fun, with a lot of close racing. I’m 100 percent sure it was just drivers protecting their grid positions.
17th July 2021, 14:33
Nissany choking was fairly predictable.
17th July 2021, 14:48
Wow what a start that was from Schwartzman. I don’t think I’ve seen many better getaways off the line than that (by that I mean grid to the first braking zone, so not Senna’s Donnington opening lap).
Also what happened to Aitken? That was really, really odd…
17th July 2021, 18:13
Almost damaged that offroad vehicle.
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