The Canadian pulled out a five-second lead in the first race stint after passing pole-sitter Luca Ghiotto and Louis Deletraz. A slow pit stop saw him plunge to sixth but he fought his way back to the front in the second stint, where he pulled out an eight second gap to his rivals to record his third career race win in the series.
Ghiotto recovered from a clutch issue at the start to take second place, while Sergio Sette Camara finished third.
Sunday’s reverse grid Sprint Race will see Mick Schumacher line up in pole position after he snatched eighth place on the final lap.
2019 FIA Formula 2 Championship Round 1 Feature Race: Sakhir, Bahrain
1 Nicholas Latifi DAMS
2 Luca Ghiotto UNI-Virtuosi Racing
3 Sérgio Sette Camara DAMS
4 Anthoine Hubert BWT Arden
5 Louis Delétraz Carlin
6 Nyck De Vries ART Grand Prix
7 Jack Aitken Campos Racing
8 Mick Schumacher PREMA Racing
9 Nobuharu Matsushita Carlin
10 Guanyu Zhou UNI-Virtuosi Racing
11 Ralph Boschung Trident
12 Giuliano Alesi Trident
13 Tatiana Calderon BWT Arden
14 Callum Ilott Sauber Junior Racing by Charouz
15 Dorian Boccolacci Campos Racing
16 Juan Manuel Correa Sauber Junior Racing by Charouz
17 Jordan King MP Motorsport
18 Mahaveer Raghunathan MP Motorsport
19 Nikita Mazepin ART Grand Prix
Sean Gelael PREMA Racing