by Bruna Pickler (cover photo credit: Joe Portlock / LAT Images / FIA F2 Championship© – September 29th, 2019 in Sochi, Rússia)
A defensive masterclass seals victory for Ghiotto in Sochi at the Sprint Race
Italian gets closer in to the championship’s silver medal with his third win of 2019.
Luca Ghiotto clinched his third win of 2019 with a defiantly defensive display at the Sprint Race, defending a relentless attack by champion Nyck de Vries, who captured the 12th podium of an incredible campaign. The ART Grand Prix “Ace” finished second ahead of Callum Ilott with Sauber Junior Team by Charouz.
The race was interrupted by a collision between Nikita Mazepin and Nobuharu Matsushita. Since then, it has been confirmed that both drivers are doing well.
Mazepin had started on the reverse pole and got off the line smoothly to the delight of Sochi fans. The Russian had avoided an initial attack by Jack Aitken before the pair was forced off the track.
Campos’ Briton tried to safely return to the track, but was stopped by Mazepin, who subsequently cut Aitken’s tires. This threw the Russian into Matsushita’s path and the pair collided, crashing into the wall. The collision brought a red flag and the race was subsequently reduced to 15 laps due to time constraints.
When action returned, Ghiotto was in front, ahead of Ilott and De Vries. Ghioto ran unopposed, but the Brit was not so lucky as he was unable to defend himself against the power of De Vries’ ART machine, which fired to his left passed straight the pits. Ilott tried to fight, keeping pace with the champion until the end of the third corner, when De Vries finally blocked him.
Taking advantage of the battle, Ghiotto increased his lead in 2.6 seconds before relieving his foot to prevent the degradation of his Pirelli rubber. De Vries quickly cut and returned to DRS, forcing the Italian to become defensive.
Little has changed in the order behind them. Guanyu Zhou stole fifth place from Sérgio Sette Câmara, while Artem Markelov left a few points for Giuliano Alexi to score easily.
De Vries was chased by Ghiotto at the front, but the Italian continued to push him away despite the advantage of DRS. The Italian eventually forced the checkered flag first, ahead of De Vries and Ilott. Latifi and Zhou completed the top five, followed by Sette Câmara, Sean Gelael and Alesi.
De Vries finishes his title victory weekend with 266 points, ahead of Latifi with 194. Thanks to his third win of the season, Ghiotto reduced the gap between them to just 10 points, ahead of Sette Câmara with 165. Aitken completes the top five with 159 points.
The team championship fight continues, with DAMS topping 359 points ahead of UNI-Virtuosi 206. ART Grand Prix is third with 276, Carlin fourth with 200 and Campos Racing fifth with 189.
The fight for overall second place will start in Yas Marina at the end of November, when DAMS will seek to secure the championship victory in the teams category.