F2 Abu Dhabi: Piastri takes sixth win of 2021 as season ends

Newly-crowned Formula 2 champion Oscar Piastri rounded out the season in style by claiming victory in the final feature race of 2021 at Abu Dhabi.

After securing the title with two races to spare on Saturday, Piastri produced another faultless drive from pole to clinch his sixth victory of the season.

The Australian didn't have it easy and needed to push in the closing stages to see off a growing challenge from the alternative strategy runners Theo Pourchaire and Felipe Drugovich on super soft tyres.

UNI Virtuosi's Guanyu Zhou managed to hold off an early challenge from Robert Shwartzman to finish second, while Drugovich and Pourchaire made their tyre strategy call work to finish third and fourth respectively.

There was drama even before the race had started as Piastri damaged his front wing on his way to the grid, requiring his Prema team to change the nose before the race start.

One the lights went out it was polesitter Piastri that led the field into Turn 1 with Jack Doohan, one of the only front runners to start on the medium tyres, slotted into second with Zhou in third.

The difference in tyre compounds allowed Piastri to gap the field while Doohan came under pressure form Zhou on the super softs.

As the field reached Turn 6-7 several cars ran across the chicane while Christian Lundgaard's back luck continued as contact from Juri Vips saw him spin his ART. The later was hit with a five-second penalty.

Back at the front, Zhou was all over the rear wing of Doohan before finding a way through at Turn 9. Doohan ran wide onto the dust which triggered his car to snap to the left, firing him into the barriers at speed. Liam Lawson also spun in a similar fashion while fighting Shwartzman for fourth, but in this case Lawson was able to continue but dropped to seventh.

Doohan climbed from his car unscathed but the incident triggered a safety car to allow marshals to clear Doohan's MP Motorsport car.

Racing resumed on lap 5 with Piastri leading Zhou, Shwartzman, while Ralph Boschung sat fourth ahead of Pourchaire and Dan Ticktum.

Lawson was the first of the front runners to pit on lap 7, which sparked a flurry of action in pit lane. Leader, Piastri rejoined in 12th position but in the net lead ahead of Zhou, who came under pressure from Shwartzman, while Lawson jumped Ticktum.

Pourchaire, having opted to start on the alternative strategy, inherited the race lead from Drugovich and Marcus Armstrong.

A loose bollard that came to rest at the final corner threatened to interfere with the race but a brave marshal managed to retrieve the debris without race control deploying a virtual safety car.

At the front, Pourchaire, yet to pit, opened up 25.4s gap over Piastri the top runner on the prime strategy.

Pourchaire eventually took service on lap 27 but crucially lost some of the advantage gained with a slow stop. Drugovich, who had sat behind the Frenchman, elected to pit a lap later for super softs and rejoined in fourth ahead of Pourchaire.

However, Pourchaire managed to reclaim the position as his rival struggled on cold tyres before Drugovich responded again.

The pitstops allowed Piastri to reclaim the race lead but with a nine second gap over Pourchaire the top runner on the super soft tyres. Zhou occupied second, three seconds behind Piastri with Shwartzman third, only 0.7s ahead of Drugovich.

The race was neutralised briefly under a virtual safety car when Lawson pulled off the road to retire.

Once back under green, Drugovich and Pourchaire made the most of their fresh rubber to pass Shwartzman for third and fourth.

The super soft tyre shod pair ran out of laps to challenge for the race lead as Piastri took the win from Zhou, Drugovich and Pourchaire.

Shwartzman was left to come home in fifth ahead of Ticktum and Armstrong, Vips, Boschung and Richard Verschoor.

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