Sochi F2: De Vries seals title with feature race win

Nyck de Vries won the Formula 2 championship title after taking a nail-biting win for ART Grand Prix at Sochi.

Sochi F2: De Vries seals title with feature race win

Luca Ghiotto led much of the race on the alternate strategy – unusual for someone starting in third – starting on medium tyres and switching to supersofts towards the end.

He ran until the end of lap 24 out of 28 on the mediums and was consistently lapping quicker than those on fresher tyres.

But when UNI-Virtuosi driver Ghiotto came back out after changing tyres, he was 6.3s adrift and although he moved forward, he couldn’t catch de Vries. 

The win guaranteed de Vries the title a round early, giving ART a second drivers’ title in a row following Williams F1 driver George Russell’s 2018 success. 

The key for the Dutchman was to hold title rival and DAMS ace Nicholas Latifi – who started second – at bay and then remain ahead at the pitstops. His rapid laps throughout the race meant Ghiotto couldn't save his tyres as much as he would have liked.

Williams junior Latifi needed to win to have any chance of erasing de Vries' huge deficit, but did hold second in the race as a consolation.

At the end, not only could Ghiotto not pass Latifi but he was overtaken by Louis Deletraz at the end, the Carlin driver sealing the final podium spot with a brave move at Turn 13.

Ghiotto held off his rival for third in the championship, Sergio Sette Camara of DAMS, who was rapid in the closing stages.

Honda junior Nobuharu Matsushita in the second Carlin-run car claimed sixth, ahead of Campos Racing’s Jack Aitken and Nikita Mazepin (ART), who takes pole for the reversed-grid race on Sunday at his home grand prix.

Ferrari junior Callum Ilott of the Sauber Junior Team and Ghiotto’s teammate Guan Yu Zhou sealed the points-paying positions in the top 10.

Ferrari junior Mick Schumacher had run right behind Matsushita having also started on the medium tyre, until he started to smoke and drop oil with 11 laps to go. He retired a few laps later. 

Artem Markelov was the first retirement, pulling to a stop in the final sector in his first start with Arden, in place of the late Anthoine Hubert.

Ilott’s debutant teammate and SMP Racing driver Matevos Isaakyan suffered a damaging early lock-up and finished 18th and last.

Race results:

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