F2 Barcelona: Nicolas Latifi wins race 1
THIRD WIN OF THE SEASON FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP LEADER
It was a hectic first lap in F2 as right at the start Ghiotto(UNI-Virtuosy Racing) was slow to get away with lots of wheelspin and Latifi(DAMS) with a better start was marginally ahead. But it was the second row of DeVries(ART Grand Prix) and Zhou(UNI-Virtuosy Racing) that put the pressure on Latifi before corner one. Latifi fend off DeVries and Zhou took advantage to pass Latifi for first place at the exit of corner 1 with Latifi second and DeVries 3rd.
Behind, Ghiotto was seen in 6th place. Mick Shumaker suffered a puncture and spun a couple of corners later. At the same corner, Alesi went off track causing a full course yellow.
On the restart, Zhou kept the lead with Latifi in the chase. On lap 7, both Zhou and Latifi pitted to change tires and although close, Latifi rejoined right behind the gearbox of Zhou coming out of the pits. By lap 10, Latifi had a two seconds gap behind Zhou. The gap remained fairly the same for a good part of the race until 10 laps to go when Latifi closed the gap to within 1 second. At that point, there were still 2 cars to complete their mandatory stops Zhou and Latifi sitting in 3rd and 4th.
On lap 30 of 37 Latifi made a move for the lead at the end of the front straight but Zhou covered the inside line at corner 1.
The following lap, Latifi tried again and with a late move under braking on the outside of corner 1 to pass Zhou for 3rd and placed his car in the best position to block Zhou from coming back in the next two corners.
Following the completion of the pit stop by lap 33, leader Antoine Hubert(BWT Arden) and Jordan King(MP Motorsport) the last 2 competitors not to have stopped did so and this gave Latifi the first place with a 1.7s lead over Zhou.
Nicolas Latifi build a lead of over two seconds by lap 35 over Zhou who started struggling. This gave a chance to Jack Aitken(Campos Racing) to pass Zhou on that same lap.
At the checkered flag, Nicolas Latifi takes the win over Aiken and Zhou. Pole sitter, Luca Ghiotto, finished 4th coming back from a poor start and 2 pit stops.
In the press conference, Nicholas was asked if he had to wait for an opportunity a bit more for this one than his previous feature win:
“Yeah definitely. After the pit stops, even just before the pit stops, I tried to push at the beginning to just try and get by and into clean air obviously in the first lap. Then there was a safety car, and then right after the pit stop I think I got a bit unlucky as we came out behind a slower car and I kind of went off the track a little bit and he was able to pull out quite a big gap at that point. I tried maybe one or two laps just to push to see if I was quicker at the beginning, but I matched the pace so I said ‘OK, it’s going to be one of those long races, just biding my time.’ It definitely wasn’t easy, I mean we didn’t have the hard tyre in the winter testing here and I think we did 30-odd laps or so just not knowing what to expect. It was a bit of an unknown let’s say. At one stage he was pulling away quite a bit and I said ‘There’s no way, I don’t think I can do this pace and make it to the end,’ and then I’d hear the about the pace of the guys on the other strategy. I was just kind of doing my own race, letting it come to me, and trying not to stay too close in the dirty air but then also staying a little bit in front of Nyck [De Vries] to not have too much pressure from behind. I was biding my time and picked a moment to push, see what the tyres had and yeah, obviously it was quite a bit of pace still at that stage in the race. I think once I got in front it wasn’t that I just checked out but those few laps I spent quite close to him for sure overheated the tyres a bit, but that’s quite normal here. At the end I wasn’t pushing flat out once I got in front because I was just thinking ‘yeah, OK, let me just bring it home because the deg’s already high.”
Asked if he was happy about the consistency he has shown so far this year, Latifi answered : “Yeah definitely. I think in any championship, consistency is probably one of the biggest things, I mean it’s all well and fine to win a race here and there and dominate certain weekends, but you have to be consistently in the points. There’s going to be races where we might not be there, both me as a driver or the car as a total package, so on those weekends I think it’s about scoring the maximum points you can. Obviously so far we’ve been quite competitive so I’m really hoping to keep that but definitely the consistency is key.”
Continuing on the subject of consistency, Latifi added: “For sure a bit of luck! I mean in motor sport you always need a bit of that. As long as I’m always doing my job, the car is always in the window, I think we’d be consistently at the front. But I think you could always have the bad luck of other drivers causing accidents or something at the start which obviously is always a bit of a gamble. It’s probably the most high pressure situation where you just kind of want to make it through, not do anything too risky, so the key is just going to be when the package is there and when I’m feeling on form just to maximise it. If we have those races where things don’t go our way, just try and bounce back but obviously try and minimise those races to begin with.”
2019FIA Formula 2 Round 3 – Feature Race Classification
|2||Jack Aitken||Campos Racing|
|3||Guanyu Zhou||UNI-Virtuosi Racing|
|4||Luca Ghiotto||UNI-Virtuosi Racing|
|5||Nyck De Vries||ART Grand Prix|
|6||Anthoine Hubert||BWT Arden|
|7||Jordan King||MP Motorsport|
|8||Callum Ilott||Sauber Junior Team by Charouz|
|9||Sean Gelael||PREMA Racing|
|13||Tatiana Calderon||BWT Arden|
|14||Dorian Boccolacci||Campos Racing|
|15||Mick Schumacher||PREMA Racing|
|16||Mahaveer Raghunathan||MP Motorsport|
|17||Nikita Mazepin||ART Grand Prix|
|Sérgio Sette Câmara||DAMS|
|Juan Manuel Correa||Sauber Junior Team by Charouz|