Felipe Drugovich continued his Formula 2 resurgence with MP Motorsport, running an intelligent Feature Race to convert pole into a first victory since Round 6 of the 2020 campaign. With title challengers, Liam Lawson and Théo Pourchaire both retiring, the MP Motorsport racer leaps to the summit of the Drivers’ Championship.
Trident’s Richard Verschoor was unable to truly challenge Drugovich, finishing in P2 for his second podium in as many rounds. Despite starting from 14th, Jehan Daruvala claimed the final podium spot with a sterling charge through the field.
Van Amersfoort Racing’s Jake Hughes got over Saturday’s Sprint Race disqualification by making it up to fourth from ninth, ahead of Hitech Grand Prix’s Marcus Armstrong.
Making the alternate strategy work, PREMA Racing’s Dennis Hauger clinched his best result to date in F2, climbing from 10th to sixth to finish ahead of DAMS pairing Ayumu Iwasa and Roy Nissany.
Also utilizing the alternate strategy, Jack Doohan recovered from last on the grid to take ninth, ahead of Hitech’s Juri Vips, who claimed the final points’ place.
AS IT HAPPENED
Drugovich chopped across Verschoor when the lights went out as the MP Motorsport racer attempted to hold his position at the front of the field. The move worked as each of the top five maintained their places at the end of Turn 1.
This didn’t last, though, as Lawson braved a pass on Ralph Boschung for P4, before swiftly following it up with a dive on Armstrong down the main straight.
Boschung was defending from Ayumu Iwasa as the Campos Racing driver fought against losing another place, but his efforts proved in vain as the DAMS dashed ahead, with Vips in tow.
Hauger - the highest placed driver on the alternate strategy – had managed to make up two places at the start and the Norwegian was followed through by his PREMA Racing teammate, Jehan Daruvala, who was up from 14th.
Drugovich shot into the pits at the end of Lap 9 to ditch the soft tyres, handing P1 to Verschoor, who had his mind on making the overcut work. It wasn’t to be, as the Trident changed his rubber on the following lap and returned directly behind the MP racer in ninth, with Hauger having assumed the lead.
Disaster struck for two of the main title challengers, as Pourchaire was forced to retire from the pits, before Lawson pulled to a stop at the exit of the pitlane, with his front left wheel not fully fitted.
Hauger had hung on to his mediums for as long as he could but was eventually forced to change his boots with four laps to go, giving up his 13s advantage over Drugovich and re-joining the pack in eighth.
The biggest surprise at the end of the alternate strategy stops was Daruvala’s new track position of third, with the PREMA racer having started down in 14th. Hughes had also managed to sneak his way through the pack, with the Van Amersfoort Racing up from ninth to P4.
Hauger made up two places on fresh soft tyres after his pitstop to finish in sixth, but couldn’t break into the top five as Armstrong proved to be an overtake too far. Meanwhile, Iwasa and Nissany finished in seventh and eighth to put both DAMS inside of the top 10. Behind them, Doohan and Vips took the final points’ places.
KEY QUOTE – FELIPE DRUGOVICH (MP MOTORSPORT)
“Super happy with the result, I couldn’t have asked for more. Pole position and a podium in yesterday’s race, then a win in the Feature Race today. I am leading the Championship now, so I am extremely happy with the whole weekend. Thank you to the whole team.”
THE CHAMPIONSHIP VIEW
Drugovich now leads the Drivers’ Championship on 45 points, ahead of Lawson on 34 and Verschoor on 32. Vips is fourth on 28 points ahead of Pourchaire on 25.
In the Teams’ title fight, Hitech are top of the standings with 48 points, ahead of MP Motorsport on 45 and Carlin on 43. Trident are fourth with 37 points, ahead of PREMA on 33.
Drugovich will lead the F2 standings for at least the next three weeks with the campaign set to resume on 22 April in Imola.