Sochi F2: Ticktum wins delayed sprint as Zhou spins on sighting lap

Dan Ticktum claimed victory in a delayed first Formula 2 race of the Sochi weekend that saw title contender Guanyu Zhou spin out on the lap to the grid. 

Ticktum made the most of his reverse grid pole position to win the only sprint race of the F2 weekend after wet weather prompted organisers to issue a revised Saturday schedule.     

The Carlin driver ultimately cruised to victory after surviving pressure from Juri Vips to claim his second F2 win of the season by 4.422s. 

Prema’s Robert Shwartzman inherited third after Liam Lawson retired with broken rear suspension after clouting the wall at Turn 13 early in the 18 lap race.

Luckily for Zhou, his error was not punished as championship leader Oscar Piastri missed out on the points after finishing ninth. 

In contrast to the torrential rain that forced the race to be postponed to the afternoon, the encounter began with the field on slicks on a damp but drying track. 

The race start was delayed by five minutes to clear the track after Felipe Drugovich’s hopes were over before the formation lap. The Brazilian, due to start from 13th, found the wall on the lap to the grid.

Uni Virtuosi teammate Zhou also suffered a spin on the sighting lap and stalled which forced him out of the race, vacating his seventh spot on the grid. 

Due to the tricky track conditions, officials elected to start the race behind the safety car, although Enzo Fittipaldi stalled as the field began the formation lap. 

After two laps behind the safety car, green flag racing commenced as polesitter Ticktum led Vips, Lawson and Shwartzman.

The top three quickly broke away from the chasing pack with Ticktum under heavy pressure from Vips and Lawson.

However, with DRS disabled from the start of the race due to the conditions, the chances for Vips to pass Ticktum were made more difficult. 

The race was neutralised under a virtual safety car on lap 5 when Bent Viscaal spun at Turn 15, with his Trident coming to a halt in a dangerous position. 

Once racing resumed, the action ignited as Piastri dropped from ninth to 12th but worse was to follow for third-placed Lawson, who clouted the wall at Turn 13, damaging his right rear suspension, ending his race. The incident triggered a second virtual safety car period.

At the front, Ticktum seemed in control as he opened up a comfortable lead over Vips, with Shwartzman now sitting third ahead of Jake Hughes, Ralph Boschung and Theo Pourchaire.  

The order quickly changed on the restart as Daruvala slid by Pourchaire and Boschung to climb to fifth, but the Indian driver would later spin with three laps remaining, dropping to 12th at the chequered flag.

Vips began to eat into Ticktum’s lead in the final quarter of the race but he couldn’t deny his rival the win, while Shwartzman completed the podium. 

Hughes finished fourth while Pourchaire, Boschung, Christian Lundgaard and Richard Verschoor filled the points paying positions.     

Following the cancellation of the second sprint race due to earlier weather delays, the F2 field will return on Sunday for the feature race at 1120 local time (0820 GMT). Piastri will start the race from pole position alongside Daruvala.

Race results:

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