ART’s Nobuharu Matsushita took his second F2 victory of 2017 in sizzling hot conditions at the Hungaroring after he made benefit from a brilliant start to control proceedings.
The Japanese driver took off from P4 on the grid, negotiating his way into the inside line for Turn 1 and taking the lead, followed by Ghiotto, de Vries, Rowland and Leclerc.
Despite overtaking moves from Latifi into P7 and Markelov into P9, the rest of the order remained static as drivers looked to preserve their tyres, and the first sign of weakness came from Ghiotto on lap 20 when he slid wide at Turn 2, losing P2 to de Vries, before Rowland and Leclerc pushed him further down the order as they overtook him in the tight middle sector.
The race was shook up when Robert Visoiu slid into Nabil Jeffri and spun into retirement, bringing a VSC period to clean his mess. After the restart, Canamasas pressured Jeffri into running wide over the kerbs at Turn 4 and as he rejoined the track, he rammed the Spaniard’s car in the back, bringing out another VSC and earning himself a 10-second time penalty.
One lap from the chequered flag, Rowland overtook de Vries for P2 on the outside of Turn 3 and he settled in as Matsushita took the flag in the next lap some four seconds away in a dominant fashion.
Rowland picked up an important second place ahead of Nyck de Vries in third and Charles Leclerc who continued to lose points from his championship lead over what was a difficult weekend which ended with him nursing a power problem and narrowly beating Norman Nato for P4, with the Arden driver taking fifth.
Nicholas Latifi took P6 after a race-long battle with Nato saw him lose out on P5 and some bits of carbon fiber from his front wing.
Pole sitter Alexander Albon lost out a lot after getting squeezed into Turn 1 at the start and had to settle for seventh in the end, ahead of Luca Ghiotto whose slip down the order ended with a P8 finish and the final points of the day.
As the drivers and teams head into the summer break, Charles Leclerc still leads the drivers’ standings on 208 points, with his lead being cut to 50 points by Rowland after the Briton took pole, a win and a second place, capitalizing on a weekend that saw his title rival start from the back of the grid and fight his way back into the points. Artem Markelov follows Rowland in 3rd on 123 points.
DAMS lead the teams’ battle with 273 points ahead of PREMA with 231 and RUSSIAN TIME on 218.
Formula 2 returns after the summer break to Spa-Francorchamp on August 25-27.
1- Charles Leclerc, 208 pts.
2- Oliver Rowland, 158 pts.
3- Artem Markelov, 123 pts.
1- DAMS, 273 pts.
2- PREMA, 231 pts.
3- RUSSIAN TIME, 218 pts.
Image via FIA Formula 2 Media