Baku F2: Renault F1 junior Jack Aitken wins fraught first race

Renault Formula 1 junior Jack Aitken won a typically frenetic Baku Formula 2 race for Campos, the event hitting its one-hour time limit amid safety car periods and seven retirements

Baku F2: Renault F1 junior Jack Aitken wins fraught first race

ART Grand Prix's Nyck de Vries made a strong start and earned a six-second lead before the pitstops, but difficulty putting his front-left tyre at the stop on made him vulnerable.

Aitken also made a strong start, and was in position to jump de Vries on the out-lap after the pair had pitted at the same time.

Aitken then established a lead before a late safety car for Guan Yu Zhou crashing into Juan Manuel Correa at Turn 1 with under 10 laps to go.

On the subsequent restart, a number of drivers hit each other, including DAMS' Sergio Sette Camara who was spun out of fourth in apparent contact from Virtuosi Racing's pre-race championship leader Luca Ghiotto.

The restart was aborted, and there were four minutes left on the clock when racing resumed.

Aitken delivered a brilliant restart to win at a track where he finished second last year having started at the back following a stall on the formation lap.

It was also Aitken's first F2 feature race win after his sprint race win at Barcelona in 2018 with ex-team ART Grand Prix.

De Vries - now with ART from Prema last year - held on for second while Jordan King pulled off an epic drive.

The MP Motorsport driver had wallowed in the back end of the top 10 for much of the early running after made a poor start from fifth and run wide at Turn 1.

He stayed patient and produced a spectacular move around the outside of Turn 3 to jump DAMS driver Nicholas Latifi on the penultimate lap. Williams junior Latifi held on for fourth.

Dorian Boccolacci scored his best F2 feature race result with fifth in the second Campos car ahead of the recovering Ghiotto - now jumped by Latifi in the points - who is under investigation for the Sette Camara safety car incident.

Two of the drivers of the race followed. Prema Racing's Sean Gelael took seventh from 19th on the grid after being disqualified from qualifying for clipping two marshals who were helping him restart his car.

Alfa Romeo F1 reserve driver Correa took eighth in his first ever race on a proper street circuit, earning reversed-grid pole for Sunday's race in the Sauber Junior Team car, despite being hit by Zhou.

Nikita Mazepin - de Vries's team-mate - took ninth ahead of Anthoine Hubert, who raced brilliantly again but sank down the order after heading into the runoff at Turn 1 on the last restart.

Louis Deletraz joined Sette Camara in retiring after contact at the penultimate restart, while Callum Ilott had an issue with his car then too.

Deletraz's polesitting team-mate Nobuharu Matsushita - a Honda F1 junior - also had a reliability issue early in the race while running in the top five but took fastest lap.

Mick Schumacher spun at Turn 16 and retired having stalled, while fellow Ferrari junior Giuliana Alesi retired after contact with Trident team-mate Ralph Boschung on the first lap.

Feature race result

Pos Driver Team Laps Gap
1 Jack Aitken Campos Racing 26 1h02m27.628s
2 Nyck de Vries ART Grand Prix 26 2.221s
3 Jordan King MP Motorsport 26 4.134s
4 Nicholas Latifi DAMS 26 4.604s
5 Dorian Boccolacci Campos Racing 26 9.499s
6 Sean Gelael Prema Racing 26 12.313s
7 Juan Manuel Correa Sauber Junior Team by Charouz 26 13.154s
8 Nikita Mazepin ART Grand Prix 26 13.676s
9 Luca Ghiotto UNI-Virtuosi 26 14.613s
10 Anthoine Hubert BWT Arden 26 18.200s
11 Mahaveer Raghunathan MP Motorsport 26 29.798s
12 Ralph Boschung Trident 26 1m00.507s
13 Nobuharu Matsushita Carlin 25 1 Lap
- Sergio Sette Camara DAMS 19 Retirement
- Louis Deletraz Carlin 19 Retirement
- Callum Ilott Sauber Junior Team by Charouz 18 Retirement
- Tatiana Calderon BWT Arden 16 Retirement
- Guanyu Zhou UNI-Virtuosi 16 Retirement
- Mick Schumacher Prema Racing 7 Retirement
- Giuliano Alesi Trident 0 Retirement

shares
comments
Formula 2 driver Gelael disqualified for Baku marshal incident

Previous article

Formula 2 driver Gelael disqualified for Baku marshal incident

Next article

Mick Schumacher believes he can "save" Baku F2 weekend after spin

Mick Schumacher believes he can "save" Baku F2 weekend after spin
Load comments
How Red Bull's next F1 hopeful turned around his season Plus

How Red Bull's next F1 hopeful turned around his season

Having impressed in Formula 3, Juri Vips looked to be next cab off the rank in Red Bull's prestigious Junior Team before his 2020 schedule was dealt a heavy blow by the COVID-19 pandemic. After a tough start to life in Formula 2, Vips is showing signs of a recovery - could he be the first Estonian to reach Formula 1?

The making of an F1 hopeful re-writing the F2 record books Plus

The making of an F1 hopeful re-writing the F2 record books

He'd marked himself out as a star of the future in last year's FIA Formula 3 championship, but 17-year-old Theo Pourchaire underlined his credentials by winning his first Formula 2 race in the Monaco feature. Sauber junior status gives him a clear route to the top, but with wisdom beyond his years, he's not getting caught up in his own hype

FIA F2
Jun 3, 2021
The 10 greatest F2 races contested by F1 drivers Plus

The 10 greatest F2 races contested by F1 drivers

Formula 2 used to be about more than providing a stepping stone to F1. For three decades it often provided another setting for the world’s best to fight it out. Autosport picks out the very best races

FIA F2
May 16, 2021
The F1 hopeful living two lives to keep his dream alive Plus

The F1 hopeful living two lives to keep his dream alive

Having lost his backing from Red Bull, Richard Verschoor has had to graft to continue his ascent up the single-seater ladder. An impressive Formula 2 debut in Bahrain, despite the lateness of his deal, shows his unorthodox approach is paying dividends

FIA F2
Apr 22, 2021
Was Formula 2’s radical format switch a success? Plus

Was Formula 2’s radical format switch a success?

Going into the 2021 Formula 2 season the biggest talking point wasn’t about any drivers or teams, but the new race weekend format. Created partly out of financial necessity but also to spice up the action, the Bahrain opener provided a snapshot of the positives and negatives to come

FIA F2
Apr 4, 2021
Why 2021 is make-or-break for the driver F1 needs Plus

Why 2021 is make-or-break for the driver F1 needs

He was tipped for glory in FIA Formula 2 last year, but was hampered by reliability woes at inopportune moments. Guanyu Zhou knows he won't get too many more chances if he is to become China's first F1 driver, with fierce competition within the ranks of Alpine's junior stable

FIA F2
Mar 25, 2021
How Schumacher Jr earned his Haas F1 chance Plus

How Schumacher Jr earned his Haas F1 chance

Michael Schumacher may have won seven Formula 1 titles, but he didn't even compete for a crown at the second tier. Son Mick put that right in 2020, and proved to Ferrari that he was deserving of a shot at motorsport's elite category in 2021

FIA F2
Jan 9, 2021
The quintet giving Ferrari a tough decision to make Plus

The quintet giving Ferrari a tough decision to make

The Ferrari Driver Academy earned a podium sweep in the first Formula 2 race of the new decade in Austria last weekend. The battle between 'the FDA five' is set to be one of the major subplots of the season, but who has the best F1 prospects for 2021?

FIA F2
Jul 8, 2020