Bahrain F2: Williams junior Latifi wins opener

Williams junior Nicholas Latifi overcame a poor pitstop to win the opening Formula 2 race of the season in Bahrain in dominant fashion.

Bahrain F2: Williams junior Latifi wins opener

Latifi first took the lead on lap 9 with a precise outside move on Louis Deletraz at Turn 1, but the Canadian lost the lead when he rejoined from a poor pitstop where he lost around five seconds.

He was fourth when all the stops panned out but, having fresher tyres than those ahead of him, he made swift moves on Deletraz, Nobuharu Matsushita and Nyck de Vries in three consecutive laps at Turn 1.

Latifi then rapidly pulled away as the aforementioned trio continued to struggle and lose further positions.

Pole-sitter Luca Ghiotto recovered to second after an adventurous race, the Italian dropping out of the victory fight on two occasions.

He first reported problems with his clutch as he came close to stalling his Virtuosi car ahead of the formation lap, and then dropped to sixth in the actual start.

However, he fought back to second in the first stint of the race, only to drop back to sixth again in the pitstops.

Ghiotto moved up the order once more to secure second, albeit 8.7s behind Latifi, with the Canadian's DAMS teammate Sergio Sette Camara completing the podium.

Reigning GP3 champion Anthoine Hubert took an impressive fourth ahead of Deletraz, who passed the struggling De Vries for fifth on the last lap.

Jack Aitken finished seventh as Mick Schumacher salvaged eighth on the final lap by passing Nobuharu Matsushita, another driver who massively struggled in the late stages, losing 5.7s in just one lap.

Matsushita had to settle for ninth with Guan Yu Zhou scoring a point on his F2 debut.

Sean Gelael was the only driver to retire, the Prema driver spinning out at Turn 1 as his DRS stayed open under braking while running inside the top 10.

Race results

Cla Driver Team Laps Gap
1 Canada Nicholas Latifi  DAMS 32  
2 Italy Luca Ghiotto  UNI-Virtuosi 32 8.7
3 Brazil Sergio Sette Camara  DAMS 32 14.8
4 France Anthoine Hubert  BWT Arden 32 17.2
5 Switzerland Louis Deletraz  Carlin 32 26.6
6 Netherlands Nyck de Vries  ART Grand Prix 32 28.4
7 United Kingdom Jack Aitken  Campos Racing 32 31.5
8 Germany Mick Schumacher  Prema Powerteam 32 34.7
9 Japan Nobuharu Matsushita  Carlin 32 37.3
10 China Guanyu Zhou  UNI-Virtuosi 32 41.1
11 Switzerland Ralph Boschung  Trident 32 42.0
12 France Giuliano Alesi  Trident 32 47.7
13 Colombia Tatiana Calderon  BWT Arden 32 55.7
14 United Kingdom Callum Ilott  Sauber Junior Team by Charouz 32 56.2
15 France Dorian Boccolacci  Campos Racing 32 74.2
16 United States Juan Manuel Correa  Sauber Junior Team by Charouz 32 84.9
17 United Kingdom Jordan King  MP Motorsport 32 86.5
18 India Mahaveer Raghunathan  MP Motorsport 32 93.1
19 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin  ART Grand Prix 32 97.5
20 Indonesia Sean Gelael  Prema Powerteam 4 28 laps
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