F2 France: Nicholas Latifi places 5th in feature race
STARTED SIXTH, RAN 12TH THROUGH TIRE STRATEGY AND MADE SOME GOOD PASSING MOVES TO FINISH FIFTH.
The feature race was held at an ambient temperature of 27 degrees. So, for most, the softer compound was to be changed for the harder compound around the sixth lap of the race.
Off the start Nick De Vries(ART Grand Prix), who had started fourth, came around the outside of front row qualifier Guanyu Zhou(UNI-Virtuosi Racing) to take the lead as pole sitter Sérgio Sette Câmara(DAMS) did not get the best start and was even past by Jack Aitken(CAMPOS) from third place. At the exit of turn one, De Vries was in the lead followed by Aitken and Sette Câmara.
Nicholas Latifi also had a difficult start off the line and went straight off at corner one while trying to hold on from the outside on the dirty side of the track. He thought better of it and rejoined the track safely and held on to sixth. Right behind him, Mick Schumacher(PREMA) was hit form behind by his teammate Sean Galael who caught the curb at corner one and flew into the back of Schumacher. This and other incidents brought out the red flag in order for the course workers to clean up the track.
Once the action resumed, De Vries held the lead until his stop on lap seven to change for the harder compound. Latifi followed from sixth to do the same.
Latifi occupied the 12th spot for about half the race distance as competitors were on different tire strategies. By the time everyone had completed their stop, Latifi was then shown in sixth place. with Championship contender Luca Ghiotto just in front of him and struggling with his car. Eventually the pass was completed and Latifi crossed the line in fifth place while Nick De Vries won the race followed by Latifi’s teammate Sérgio Sette Câmara in second and Jack Aitken in third.
With the win, De Vries takes the lead of the Championship with 121 points as Latifi(105) is now 16 points behind in second place. Third is Jack Aitken(77), Sette Câmara(74) is fourth and Luca Ghiotto(67) round out the top five.
Second race of the weekend is set for Sunday morning. With his fifth place finish, Latifi will start tomorrow’s race in fourth.
Image: FIA Formula 2