Nyck de Vries has claimed victory in an enthralling wet/dry Formula 2 Feature Race at the Hungaroring, finishing over 16 seconds clear of Lando Norris.
It was a race of two distinct halves thanks to changing track and weather conditions. With the Hungaroring circuit soaked after an earlier rain storm which impacted the Formula 1 qualifying session, the F2 runners started on Intermediate tyres and toured for three formation laps behind the Safety Car before lining up on the starting grid a standing start.
Pole-sitter Sergio Sette Câmara preserved his lead at the start while de Vries capitalised on a dreadful getaway for Jack Aitken, who lost early positions from the front row.
The Brazilian built an early lead over de Vries, while further behind the action focused on Norris who was charging up the order from sixth on the grid. He passed Antonio Fuoco to move into fifth and made easy meat of Aitken and then Luca Ghiotto over consecutive laps to move into third place.
De Vries was the Briton’s next victim, and after dispatching the Dutchman Norris tore into his teammate Sette Câmara’s lead at over two seconds per lap. On Lap 10 he was tucked under the rear wing of the Brazilian and attempted to pass him at Turn 5, before making the move stick at the chicane and scampering off into the distance.
Within five laps, an untouchable Norris had extended his lead of the race to over 12 seconds on the steadily drying track. Sette Câmara was beginning to struggle, falling back into the clutches of de Vries and Fuoco – who had passed Ghiotto for fourth. The pair moved ahead of Sette Câmara on Lap 13, who was the first of the frontrunners to pit and swap his worn Intermediate tyres for dry-weather Mediums on Lap 15.
Norris, now holding a lead of 14 seconds, and de Vries followed suit a lap later to bolt on the Mediums, with Fuoco staying out a lap too long and paying the price as he emerged behind Sette Câmara.
The change to Medium tyres proved a game-changer for Norris, who saw his lead evaporate. De Vries was catching him at a rate of knots and by Lap 26 the gap between the two McLaren junior was less than a second. The battle was only going to go one way, as de Vries sliced up the inside of Norris exiting the Turn 6/7 chicane to claim the lead and quickly pulled away.
Sette Câmara began to chase his teammate down, while fourth-placed Fuoco also made gains after pulling clear of a rabid battle for the minor points places that featured Jack Aitken, Alexander Albon, Luca Ghiotto, Roberto Merhi, Nirei Fukuzumi and Artem Markelov.
A Virtual Safety Car – brought out by the retirement of Nicholas Latifi’s DAMS – briefly suspended proceedings but did little to dampen de Vries’ advantage as he crossed the finish line almost 17 seconds clear of the rest of the field.
Sette Câmara battled with Norris over the final laps, trying and failing to pass his teammate under braking at Turn 1. His final attempt on the last lap saw him run wide and allow the enterprising Fuoco through into third place. Seeking to reclaim the position, Sette Câmara turfed the Italian into a spin at the penultimate corner.
While he crossed the line in third place ahead of the Ferrari academy driver, Sette Câmara was swiftly handed a ten-second time penalty that dropped him to seventh place. Fuoco was promoted back onto the podium, with Aitken, Albon and Ghiotto all promoted one position at Sette Câmara’s expense.
Markelov claimed eighth place from the Japanese pairing of Tadasuke Makino and Nirei Fukuzumi in the final laps to earn himself a reversed-grid pole position for Sunday’s Sprint Race.
The race was a disaster for championship leader George Russell, who was forced to start from the pit lane with a clutch problem and retired early on with an engine failure. Norris’ second place finish has seen the points’ gap between the pair slashed to 19 points.
|2018 FIA Formula 2 Championship Race of Hungary – Feature Race Results (34 laps)|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Laps||Result||Pts|
|1.||Nyck de Vries||Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing||34||1:00:16.996||27|
|2.||Lando Norris||Carlin Motorsport||34||+ 16.508||18|
|3.||Antonio Fuoco||Charouz Racing System||34||+ 20.752||15|
|4.||Jack Aitken||ART Grand Prix||34||+ 21.805||12|
|5.||Alexander Albon||DAMS||34||+ 23.077||10|
|6.||Luca Ghiotto||Campos Vexatec Racing||34||+ 28.696||8|
|7.||Sergio Sette Câmara||Carlin Motorsport||34||+ 29.099||10|
|8.||Artem Markelov||Russian Time||34||+ 35.594||4|
|9.||Tadasuke Makino||Russian Time||34||+ 36.304||2|
|10.||Nirei Fukuzumi||BWT Arden International||34||+ 37.114||1|
|11.||Roberto Merhi||MP Motorsport||34||+ 37.973|
|12.||Arjun Maini||Trident Racing||34||+ 38.336|
|13.||Sean Gelael||Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing||34||+ 39.120|
|14.||Alessio Lorandi||Trident Racing||34||+ 39.858|
|15.||Roy Nissany||Campos Vexatec Racing||34||+ 48.072|
|16.||Maximilian Günther||BWT Arden International||34||+ 53.241|
|17.||Louis Delétraz||Charouz Racing System||34||+ 1:13.696|
|18.||Ralph Boschung||MP Motorsport||33||1 lap behind|
|Not Classified||Team / Entry||Laps||Result|
|DNF.||George Russell||ART Grand Prix||11||Engine|
Points are awarded to the top 10 classified finishers in the Feature Race on a 25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1 scale.
Sergio Sette Câmara is awarded an additional 4 championship points for claiming pole position.
Nyck de Vries is awarded an additional 2 championship points for posting the fastest lap of the race by a top ten finisher.
- Sergio Sette Câmara – who was provisionally classified in 3rd place – was issued a 10-second post-race time penalty for causing avoidable contact with Antonio Fuoco.
Image via FIA Formula 2 Championship