Baku F2: Vips holds off Piastri for second straight win

Hitech Grand Prix’s Juri Vips took his second FIA Formula 2 win in a row in the feature race in Baku, holding off pressure from Prema Racing’s Oscar Piastri.

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The Red Bull junior fought off teammate Liam Lawson to take the lead from second on the first lap, eventually crossing the chequered flag over a second ahead of Piastri to take 25 points.

The win – his second ever after yesterday’s second sprint race – puts him up to fourth in the drivers standings.

Prema Racing’s Robert Shwartzman finished in third, having started 10th, while UNI-Virtuosi’s Felipe Drugovich finished fourth.

Campos Racing’s Ralph Boschung finished fifth after starting seventh, while Lawson finished sixth after starting on pole for the 28-lap race.

The race start was aborted after HWA's Jack Aitken, who should have started 14th, and Campos Racing’s Matteo Nannini, set to start 17th, were unable to get off the line.

The pair returned to the pitlane but Nannini encountered further problems and was unable to start the race, while Aitken managed to get going.

Vips took the lead from Lawson on the first turn, kicking off a dramatic first lap for the final race of the weekend.

Lawson was eventually handed a ten second penalty for a defensive move against ART's Theo Pourchaire on the first lap for forcing another driver off the track into the pit lane exit.

Carlin’s Dan Ticktum, Pourchaire and DAMS’ Marcus Armstrong tangled at Turn 3, forcing Pourchaire into the escape lane and knocking Armstrong out of the race for the second race in a row.

Pourchaire managed to keep his car going but was sent to the back of field before being forced to retire.

The incident resulted in a safety car, under which Ticktum pitted with front wing damage and changed his tyres, but it did not count as a mandatory pitstop. He received a ten second penalty for causing the collision.

The safety car came in on the second lap, with Prema Racing’s Oscar Piastri and Lawson tussling for second on the restart.

Vips was the first of the leaders to pit on Lap 6, taking his mandatory pitstop as the window opened, before his teammate pitted the following lap, taking his ten second penalty and dropping to tenth.

Just two laps later, Piastri passed Vips in the battle for the net race lead along the start-finish straight.

But Piastri was hit with a five second penalty for an unsafe pitstop release in front of UNI-Virtuosi’s Felipe Drugovich.

Despite having been dropped down the order by his penalty, by Lap 15 Lawson was up to eighth place after passing Carlin’s Jehan Daruvala.

Vips continued to face pressure from Piastri, unaided by a struggle to lap HWA's Alessio Deledda on the start-finish straight, for which the latter was handed a drive-through penalty for ignoring blue flags.

Ticktum finally pitted on Lap 22 and served his penalty, exiting into 10th place, shortly followed by Aitken, who was the last to pit and exited into 11th.

The Carlin driver had made up two positions by Lap 26, with a stunning pass on both Lundgaard and Beckmann in one move on the run to Turn 1, but eventually finished in eighth.

F2 returns at Silverstone from 16-18 July.

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