Oliver Rowland has emerged on top of a three-way battle to take victory in an action-packed feature race in Hungary. The Briton started from pole and eventually led home a DAMS 1-2 as his title contender Charles Leclerc pulled an impressive comeback from last on the grid to take fourth place.
Rowland made a decent start from pole but was quickly overhauled by Artem Markelov who made a brilliant getaway to take the lead into Turn 1 with Rowland, King and Latifi in his wake while far behind, championship leader Charles Leclerc was already up to P12 after the first lap and looked mighty on the alternate strategy.
King couldn’t hold on to his third place for too long as he was struggling with his front tyres and pitted shortly after being passed by Nicholas Latifi. Rowland followed suit on the next lap in an attempt to undercut Markelov’s lead. As the Russian pitted one lap later to cover Rowland it was too late and he’d lost his lead to the DAMS.
In the meantime, Leclerc was on Albon as the Thai was the lead driver on the alternate medium/soft strategy and after a long scrap which saw the Monegasque launch airborne on the kerbs, Leclerc managed to overhaul Albon as proceedings seemed to settle into a rhythm.
Rowland consolidated his position by overtaking almost all the cars yet to pit and retook the lead when Leclerc pitted for fresh rubber on lap 23 but his lead vanished when Robert Visoiu and Sergio Canamasas clashed into Turn 1 prompting a safety car period and promoting Leclerc to P9 after he emerged from the pits in P11.
Four laps later, as green-flag racing resumed, Leclerc was on the charge and was taking places hand over fist, overtaking Ghiotto, King and Malja into Turn 1 as King collided with Ralph Boschung after an off-track excursion into Turn 4, earning himself a 10-second time penalty.
Towards the end of the race, Markelov started pressuring Rowland’s lead and his attack into Turn 1 ended with himself in the barriers and the safety car once again deployed, all but bringing the race to an end.
The safety car peeled off into the final corner to allow Rowland to take a crucial victory and boost his title chances against both Markelov and Leclerc who both lost points despite the Monegasque’s impressive comeback to take fourth. Latifi came in second in a DAMS 1-2 while Nyck de Vries continued his impressive form in his rookie season to take another podium in 3rd ahead of Leclerc, Matsushita and Ghiotto.
Norman Nato took seventh while Albon claimed P8 and the reversed-grid pole for Sunday’s sprint race, finishing ahead of Sean Gelael and Santino Ferrucci who impressed on his debut to score points for Trident from P10.
Sunday’s 28-lap sprint race starts at 10:20 local time (GMT +2)
Three grid and time penalties have been handed down by the race stewards following this afternoon’s feature race at the Hungaroring:
- Sergio Canamasas has been given a 3 grid place position penalty for tomorrow’s sprint race after being judged to have caused a collision after losing control and hitting Robert Visoiu at turn 1, causing both drivers to retire from the race and prompting a safety car period to remove both vehicles. As he was not classified he will not be able to apply the penalty, and as such will start from the pitlane.
- Both Sergio Sette Camara and Sean Gelael have been given a 10 second time penalty for activating the adjustable bodywork (or DRS) before completing 2 laps, which is a breach of Article 21.4 of the Sporting Regulations. Gelael, who finished 9th on track, will now be classified P14, while Sette Camara, who finished 14th, will now be classified in P16. This promotes Ferrucci to 9th and Louis Deletraz to 10th, picking up is first ever points in the series.
Image via FIA Formula 2 Media