F2 Jeddah: Piastri edges closer to title after Race 2 win

Oscar Piastri moved a step closer to claiming the FIA Formula 2 Championship title after winning a thrilling second sprint race at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

F2 Jeddah: Piastri edges closer to title after Race 2 win
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The Alpine Academy driver spent much of the race sitting in second behind pole-sitter Jehan Daruvala in what developed into an entertaining scrap either side of two safety car periods.

Piastri soon inherited the net lead after Daruvala was handed a five-second penalty for using the Turn 1 run-off to defend his lead after suffering a lock-up.

However, not content to finish second on the road, the Australian managed to pass Daruvala with three laps remaining to take the chequered flag from Bent Viscaal.

Prema Racing's Robert Shwartzman finished third, rising to second in the championship after title contender Guanyu Zhou could only come home in eighth.

Once the penalty was applied, Daruvala dropped to 14th position ahead of third on the road Christian Lundgaard, who was slapped with an identical penalty for an earlier illegal pass on Viscaal.

The race ended under a third safety car, deployed to clear Liam Lawson's Hitech after a heavy crash coming out of Turn 13. The New Zealander, who finished second in race one, emerged from the wreckage unscathed.

It proved to be frantic start as the safety car was called when four cars were eliminated at the first corner.

Daruvala made a strong star from reverse grid pole, having inherited the grid position after being slapped with a five-second post-race one penalty for gaining an advantage when overtaking Dan Ticktum, which dropped him from fifth to 10th in the race one results. The Indian led the field into Turn 1 after fending off Bent Viscaal.

However, behind F2 rookie Clement Novalak locked up lost control of his MP Motorsport car which swiped race one winner Marcus Armstrong sending the New Zealander into a spin. Armstrong then made contact with Lawson on his outside before coming to a halt.

Lawson managed to escape in 10th position but Armstrong and Novalak were out on the spot.

While this incident was unfolding Guilherme Samaia had nowhere to go to avoid Ralph Boschung and found the outside wall, with Alessio Deledda also caught up in the clash. The stewards elected to investigate the incident.

Viscaal dropped to fourth behind Piastri and Lundgaard before the safety car was deployed.

Once the four cars were removed from Turn 1, racing resumed on lap 5 with Daruvala leading Piastri, Lundgaard and Viscaal. The latter would claim third from the Dane before the stoppage.

Racing lasted only a lap before the safety car was deployed again when Juri Vips made contact with Felipe Drugovich. The incident began when Drugovich dived underneath the Red Bull junior at the final corner to snatch seventh. However, in trying to reclaim the position Vips clipped the rear of Drugovich removing his front wing.

Vips was lucky not to collect any of his rivals at Turn 1 with limited control of the car due to the front wing being lodged underneath the front wheels. Moments later F2 debutant Logan Sergeant stopped on track further round the lap.

On the lap 8 restart, leader Daruvala locked up and ran deep into Turn 1 trying to defend from Piastri, while Lundgaard passed Viscaal for third but used the first corner run off area in the process.

There were plenty of frenetic battles for position behind as Shwartzman sent one up the inside of Ticktum for fifth at the final corner.

The complexion of the race soon changed as Daruvala was hit with a five-second penalty for gaining an advantage by using the run off area while defending from Piastri. The sanction put Piastri in the box seat to win the race.

A five-car train developed at the front as Daruvala headed Piastri, Lundgaard, Viscaal and Shwartzman. Two of the contenders Daruvala and Lundgaard were running with five-second penalty for gaining advantage while exceeding track limits.

Piastri briefly edged ahead after competing a fine move on Daruvala at the final corner with six laps remaining, but Daruvala fought back to reclaim the lead by the time they raced Turn 1.

However, Piastri made move stick with three laps remaining which was enough to claim the win.

Viscaal inherited second with Shwartzman third once penalties were applied to Daruvala and Lundgaard.

Ticktum came home in fourth ahead of the impressive Jack Doohan in only his second F2 race. Incredibly Theo Pourchaire climbed from the rear of the grid to finish sixth ahead of Enzo Fittipaldi and Zhou.

Piastri will start from pole position sent he field return for the Sunday's feature race, scheduled to start at 1725 local time (1425 GMT).

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