UNI-Virtuosi’s Callum Ilott put the frustrations of Round 4 behind him to control the Formula 2 Feature Race from start to finish, and emphatically snatch the Championship lead from his fellow Ferrari junior Robert Shwartzman on home soil at Silverstone.

The Briton’s day got off to a flyer as he thundered off the line when the lights went out, but arguably, the key to his victory was tyre management. Ilott finished nearly 9s ahead of Christian Lundgaard, whose visibly degraded Pirellis prevented him from mounting any form of serious assault on P1.

The top three remained unchanged from Qualifying, as Jack Aitken secured his first podium of the season at his home race in third.

Shwartzman managed to make up three places from 11th, but it wasn’t enough to retain his grip on the Drivers’ Championship. The PREMA racer will have an opportunity to make up some ground in the title race from reverse grid pole in the Sprint Race tomorrow.

Last weekend, Ilott had stalled from second ahead of the formation lap, but there was no sign of something similar from pole in Round 5. The UNI-Virtuosi racer enjoyed a dream getaway from first, peeling away from the pack cleanly into the first corner.

Callum Ilott, UNI-Virtuosi - 2020 FIA Formula 2 Championship Britain

Callum Ilott converted pole position into the lead and was never really threatened en route to victory.

The Briton’s cause was helped by compatriot Dan Ticktum, who stole the attention of front row starter Lundgaard, darting down the right from fourth and ahead of the Dane for P2.

All of Ticktum’s hard work was undone four laps later, as he skidded off the road at Chapel to allow Lundgaard back past, and then went wide at Stowe to allow Aitken ahead too.

Mick Schumacher had vaulted off the line himself and watched gleefully as Ticktum fell into his clutches. The German went side-by-side with the DAMS driver into Turns 3 and 4, and eventually edged past in a protracted, but hard-fought move. Nikita Mazepin immediately followed the PREMA through, to drop Ticktum to sixth.

The majority of those who started on the softs changed on Lap 7, including Lundgaard from P2, but Ilott opted to wait and switch to the hard Pirellis a lap later.

His decision proved well-founded, as he maintained his position ahead of Lundgaard on his return from the pitlane, top of the drivers on the option-prime strategy. This handed Schumacher the lead ahead of Mazepin, both on the alternate strategy.

Ilott was wary of putting too much pressure on the hard tyres on their maiden laps, but did manage to fight past Artem Markelov for P9 and put some breathing space between himself and Lundgaard.

The Briton got the tyres up to temperature and felt comfortable enough to fling himself ahead of Giuliano Alesi and Roy Nissany too. Lundgaard was already sporting visible blisters on his front left and complained to his team on the radio that the hard tyres were struggling as he got stuck behind Alesi, in a train with Aitken and Delétraz.

Schumacher pitted from first on Lap 21 and returned in P12 behind Ticktum. The German took a couple of laps to warm up his tyres, but once he had, wasted no time in reclaiming the position from the DAMS driver.

Mazepin went in for his change on Lap 22 and returned the race lead to Ilott, who had made the most of the traffic between him and Lundgaard to build up a mega 8s advantage.

When the Russian returned, he slotted into P8 behind Schumacher, but was revelling in his decision to pit later than the German and used the fresher rubber to fire ahead of both Schumacher, and Yuki Tsunoda, for fifth. He’d follow this up with a last gasp dash past Delétraz on the final lap.

Little else changed on the final lap, as Ilott calmly claimed his second win of the season ahead of Lundgaard. The Dane managed to cling onto second ahead of Aitken, who scored his first podium of 2020. Mazepin ran home fourth, ahead of Delétraz, Tsunoda, Schumacher and Shwartzman. Guanyu Zhou and Felipe Drugovich completed the top ten.

Ilott moves into first place in the Drivers’ Championship for the first time since Round 2, on 102 points. Lundgaard also makes up a place to second, 15 points behind the UNI-Virtuosi racer. Shwartzman drops to third on 85, ahead of Mazepin and Ticktum.

In the Teams’ Championship, UNI-Virtuosi strengthens their lead at the top on 157 points, ahead of PREMA on 132 and ART Grand Prix on 121. Hitech Grand Prix are fourth, ahead of Carlin.

2020 FIA Formula 2 Championship – Britain (II) Feature Race Final Classification (29 laps)
Driver Team / Entry Laps Result Pts
1. Callum Ilott UNI Virtuosi Racing UNI-Virtuosi Logo 29 51:12.407 29
2. Christian Lundgaard ART Grand Prix 29 + 8.574 18
3. Jack Aitken Campos Racing 29 + 12.303 15
4. Nikita Mazepin Hitech Grand Prix 29 + 15.020 12
5. Louis Delétraz Charouz Racing System 29 + 16.644 10
6. Yuki Tsunoda Carlin Motorsport 29 + 17.010 8
7. Mick Schumacher Prema Racing 29 + 19.232 6
8. Robert Shwartzman Prema Racing 29 + 20.033 4
9. Guan Yu Zhou UNI Virtuosi Racing UNI-Virtuosi Logo 29 + 20.428 4
10. Felipe Drugovich MP Motorsport 29 + 24.127 1
11. Nobuhara Matsushita MP Motorsport 29 + 26.418
12. Jehan Daruvala Carlin Motorsport 29 + 28.109
13. Luca Ghiotto Hitech Grand Prix 29 + 36.114
14. Marcus Armstrong ART Grand Prix 29 + 41.725
15. Dan Ticktum DAMS 29 + 43.109
16. Giuliano Alesi BWT HWA Racelab 29 + 43.252
17. Marino Sato Trident Racing 29 + 50.048
18. Roy Nissany Trident Racing 29 + 51.428
19. Artem Markelov BWT HWA Racelab 29 + 1:14.193
20. Guilherme Samaia Campos Racing 29 + 1:15.090
21. Pedro Piquet Charouz Racing System 28 1 lap behind
Not Classified Team / Entry Laps Reason
DNF. Sean Gelael DAMS 21 Mechanical

Championship Points:

  • Championship points are awarded on the results of the Feature Race’s top-ten finishers on a 25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1 sliding scale.
  • Four additional championship points are awarded to the driver (Callum Ilott) and their corresponding team (UNI-Virtuosi) for claiming pole position for the Feature Race.
  • Two additional championship points are awarded to the driver finishing in the top-ten (Guan Yu Zhou) and their corresponding team (UNI-Virtuosi) for posting the fastest lap of the race by a top-ten finisher.

Post-Race Penalties:

  • To be advised.

Images and text via Formula 2 Championship.

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Geoff Burke

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