F2 Baku: Vesti takes maiden series win in disrupted sprint race

Frederik Vesti took his maiden FIA Formula 2 victory in Baku, snatching the lead of a disrupted sprint race from Jehan Daruvala on the second safety car restart. 

F2 Baku: Vesti takes maiden series win in disrupted sprint race
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The ART Grand Prix rookie briefly took the lead from polesitter Jake Hughes at the start, but a lack of drive out of Turn 1 allowed Prema driver Daruvala to pass him into the lead, dropping the Dane into third. 

Vesti made it past Van Amersfoort Racing’s Hughes for second on lap six, overtaking him around the outside at Turn 3 with a bold move. 

From there, it was a waiting game, and though he was unable to make it past Daruvala on the first restart, another safety car came almost immediately and from there the Mercedes junior was able to take advantage of a lock-up from the leader to move into first. 

It marks Vesti’s first win in F2, and his first victory since the FIA Formula 3 feature race in Austria last year. 

Daruvala finished second, holding off a charging Liam Lawson, who took the final podium place for Carlin. 

A chaotic start saw the lead change hands twice, with first Vesti and then Daruvala taking charge of the pack. 

Jack Doohan was forced to pit on lap four for a new wing, having sustained damage on the first lap and dropping the Virtuosi man to the back of the pack. 

Meanwhile, out front, Daruvala had extended his lead to 1.5s, while Vesti closed in on Hughes for second and Carlin’s Logan Sargeant, in third, was on the back of the pair. 

After Vesti passed Hughes, it left the Briton vulnerable to those behind, and he was passed first by Sargeant down the main straight on lap seven before he tumbled down the pack, losing three places in six corners on lap 10 to Juri Vips, Theo Pourchaire and Dennis Hauger and falling out of the top 10. 

By lap 13, the Hitech man and ART’s Pourchaire were tussling for eighth, with Vips holding firm in front as Hauger caught the pair behind. 

But the Prema rookie tried an ambitious pass on Pourchaire at Turn 3 and had a huge lock up, narrowly avoiding the Frenchman and ending up in the wall, prompting a safety car. 

Racing resumed on lap 17, with Daruvala holding the lead while Trident’s Richard Verschoor and Marcus Armstrong (Hitech) made it past Sargeant for third and fourth respectively. 

But the safety car was deployed again almost immediately after Enzo Fittipaldi and Vips made contact at Turn 2, with the Charouz driver cutting up the inside of the Estonian.  

Once again, the pack was released on lap 19, with Daruvala locking up on the restart and allowing Vesti past to take the lead up the inside of Turn 1. 

Verschoor ended up in the wall while fighting Lawson for the final podium place, with the pair running side-by-side before the Trident driver crashed, prompting another safety car period. 

The action came down to a final lap shootout, and Vesti held firm in the lead, with Daruvala and Lawson embroiled in a battle for second behind him, the Prema driver emerging in front. 

A last lap crash prompted yellow flags in Sectors 1 and 3, with Campos Racing’s Ralph Boschung putting Calan Williams into the wall before Cem Bolukbasi (Charouz) and Virtuosi’s Marino Sato made contact with the side of his stricken Trident car. 

Armstrong took fourth place, with championship leader Felipe Drugovich settling for fifth to extend his lead to 34 points. 

Sargeant took sixth, despite having been running in the podium places, while Pourchaire and DAMS’ Ayumu Iwasa rounded off the points. 

Vips will start on pole for Sunday’s feature race, with former teammate Lawson in second and Hauger in third. 

Baku F2 - Sprint race results:

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