Norman Nato has returned to the winner’s step after a breathtaking race in Baku. The Arden driver originally finished second to Charles Leclerc but was promoted to the top after the Monegasque was hit with a 10-second time penalty for failing to slow under yellow flags, keeping him just short of scoring the double.
Nato stormed off the grid from P4 getting alongside Oliver Rowland and pole sitter Ralph Boschung into Turn 1 as Rowland squeezed the pair and took an early lead into Turn 2 while Leclerc dropped two places into 10th after the start, before beginning to really charge ahead.
The next lap Nato got ahead of Boschung into Turn 1, losing a bit of front wing as the pair touched, leaving Boschung exposed to Latifi behind him who easily moved past as Nyck de Vries behind moved past both of them in the space of two laps, moving into third.
Nato set about chasing Rowland for the lead but he didn’t need to make much of an effort as the Briton slowed to a halt and was out of the race, wile behind Nato, de Vries also slid out of the race at Turn 3 with technical problems, meaning Leclerc’s charge was helped even further as he found himself in P4.
The focus was quickly on the Monegasque as he strung together fastest lap after fastest lap, running a second faster than the closest car to him in pace and dispatching King and Latifi within two laps, with only Nato remaining between him and a perfect weekend.
His efforts, however, were quickly cooled down as he was struck with a 10-second time penalty, prompting no resistance from Nato who let him past easily. With not enough laps or tyres remaining, Leclerc couldn’t pull a big enough gap to keep his victory and he took the chequered flag 1.3 seconds ahead of Nato, who was classified as the winner, 8.7 second ahead of Leclerc.
Behind them, Latifi completed the podium ahead of Jordan King and series returnee Sergey Sirotkin in 4th and 5th.
Artem Markelov finished 6th for Russian Time as behind him, Nobuharu Matsushita and Luca Ghiotto recovered from lowly grid positions to take the final points in 7th and 8th.
With this result, Leclerc consolidates his championship lead on 122 points with Rowland second on 80 and Markelov third on 78 while Russian Time lead the way in the teams’ championship with 136 points, 3 points ahead of DAMS while PREMA trail in third with 124.
Following today’s FIA F2 Sprint Race at Baku City Circuit it was found that Jordan King’s car had failed to comply with the minimum tyre pressure: all four tyres of his MP Motorsport car were below the minimum pressure required by Pirelli.
As a consequence, the Briton was disqualified from today’s race results. This promotes Sergey Sirotkin to fourth place ahead of Artem Markelov, Nobuharu Matsushita, Luca Ghiotto and Ralph Boschung who grabs the final point available.
Formula 2 returns in Austria on July 8-9
Image via FIA Formula 2 Media