Hungary F2: Latifi executes flawless win to close championship lead

Williams Formula 1 junior Nicholas Latifi delivered a flawless drive in a tricky Hungaroring Formula 2 race to eat into championship leader Nyck de Vries's advantage

Hungary F2: Latifi executes flawless win to close championship lead

The key move of the race was done at the start: polesitter de Vries held the inside line from pole into Turn 1, but ran wide and DAMS driver Nicholas Latifi was able to execute an undercut to take the lead from third at the corner exit.

Latifi then showed incredible longevity on the red-walled soft Pirellis, and even though ART Grand Prix's de Vries attempted the undercut, Latifi held the lead.

The DAMS driver had a scare when de Vries closed in around 12 laps into the 34-lap race, thanks to traffic.

But Latifi passed Juan Manuel Correa at Turn 2 which provided welcome respite, and then pulled three seconds clear in the following two laps to gain a comfortable margin.

The Williams Formula 1 junior took the lead on lap 29 after those on the alternate strategy had pitted, and had 6.8s in hand over de Vries which he managed to the finish for his fourth win of 2019.

De Vries still has a strong championship lead, limiting the points loss to Latifi with his second place finish.

Renault junior Jack Aitken had made a lightning start from seventh to fifth, and then jumped both Prema Racing's Mick Schumacher and Virtuosi Racing driver Luca Ghiotto in the pit stops, taking a net third in the order.

Ghiotto appeared to close in momentarily after the pitstops, but Aitken then pulled a strong gap and the Silverstone reversed-grid race winner looked safe.

In the last 10 laps Ghiotto closed back in, although Aitken narrowly managed to weather the storm and took the final spot on the podium.

Ghiotto came under attack from the charging Carlin driver Nobuharu Matsushita in the closing stages, and Latifi's DAMS team-mate Sergio Sette Camara also joined the train.

Sette Camara mugged Matsushita in the final five laps, making the most of the Honda junior's unsuccessful move on Ghiotto at Turn 1.

A late safety car for Ralph Boschung's expiring Trident then froze the order, meaning Ghiotto kept fourth and headed Sette Camara and Jordan King at the flag.

But then VSC infringement penalties changed the order, dropping Ghiotto from fourth to sixth, ahead of King who was also penalised.

King had been charging through the order having run the slower medium tyre early on, and passed Matsushita for sixth just before the safety car and complained that it "spoiled all our fun" with further overtakes a realistic possibility.

With the penalties, Sette Camara took fourth ahead of Matsushita, Ghiotto and King.

Mick Schumacher had been with Ghiotto and in the battle for a podium mid-race, but slipped back three-quarters into the race seemingly struggling for tyre life.

He was caught napping at the virtual safety car restart on lap 22 of 37 by Matsushita, and finished eighth behind the Japanese driver.

It does mean Ferrari junior Schumacher takes the reversed-grid pole for Sunday's sprint race.

First-year duo Guan Yu Zhou of Virtuosi Racing and Sauber Junior Team's Callum Ilott took the final points for ninth and 10th respectively.

Pos Driver Team Car Laps Time Gap Code
1 Nicholas Latifi DAMS Dallara/Mecachrome 37 1h02m40.675s - CLA
2 Nyck de Vries ART Grand Prix Dallara/Mecachrome 37 1h02m41.427s 0.752s CLA
3 Jack Aitken Campos Racing Dallara/Mecachrome 37 1h02m41.720s 1.045s CLA
4 Luca Ghiotto UNI-Virtuosi Dallara/Mecachrome 37 1h02m43.670s 2.995s CLA
5 Sergio Sette Camara DAMS Dallara/Mecachrome 37 1h02m44.819s 4.144s CLA
6 Jordan King MP Motorsport Dallara/Mecachrome 37 1h02m45.723s 5.048s CLA
7 Nobuharu Matsushita Carlin Dallara/Mecachrome 37 1h02m45.957s 5.282s CLA
8 Mick Schumacher Prema Racing Dallara/Mecachrome 37 1h02m56.482s 15.807s CLA
9 Guanyu Zhou UNI-Virtuosi Dallara/Mecachrome 37 1h02m58.470s 17.795s CLA
10 Callum Ilott Sauber Junior Team by Charouz Dallara/Mecachrome 37 1h02m59.237s 18.562s CLA
11 Anthoine Hubert BWT Arden Dallara/Mecachrome 37 1h03m00.693s 20.018s CLA
12 Nikita Mazepin ART Grand Prix Dallara/Mecachrome 37 1h03m02.747s 22.072s CLA
13 Giuliano Alesi Trident Dallara/Mecachrome 37 1h03m03.429s 22.754s CLA
14 Juan Manuel Correa Sauber Junior Team by Charouz Dallara/Mecachrome 37 1h03m04.431s 23.756s CLA
15 Sean Gelael Prema Racing Dallara/Mecachrome 37 1h03m08.858s 28.183s CLA
16 Tatiana Calderon BWT Arden Dallara/Mecachrome 37 1h03m56.498s 1m15.823s CLA
17 Mahaveer Raghunathan MP Motorsport Dallara/Mecachrome 37 1h03m57.387s 1m16.712s CLA
18 Ralph Boschung Trident Dallara/Mecachrome 33 55m16.280s 4 Laps CLA
- Arjun Maini Campos Racing Dallara/Mecachrome 17 28m14.092s Hydraulics DNF
- Louis Deletraz Carlin Dallara/Mecachrome 3 4m52.271s Hydraulics DNF

shares
comments
Schumacher: Work to be done despite best F2 qualifying

Previous article

Schumacher: Work to be done despite best F2 qualifying

Next article

Ghiotto, King have F2 feature race VSC penalties overturned

Ghiotto, King have F2 feature race VSC penalties overturned
Load comments
How F2's biggest talent could be forced to spend 2022 on the bench Plus

How F2's biggest talent could be forced to spend 2022 on the bench

Tipped as the next big thing after winning the FIA Formula 3 championship in his rookie season, Oscar Piastri has taken Formula 2 by storm and looks set to clinch that title too. But with no Formula 1 seat available to him for next year, the Alpine junior may have to wait for his time in the spotlight…

FIA F2
Sep 24, 2021
How Campos Racing has bounced back from its devastating loss Plus

How Campos Racing has bounced back from its devastating loss

After the sudden death of its founder in January, Formula 2 stalwart Campos Racing was left facing its hardest season to date. But new team boss Adrian Jr is determined to honour his father’s legacy and has returned the team to its winning ways

FIA F2
Sep 20, 2021
How F2 and F3's flawed format changes could prove shortlived Plus

How F2 and F3's flawed format changes could prove shortlived

After a chaotic 2020, marred by the coronavirus pandemic, the FIA brought in radical changes to Formula 2 and 3. But less than 12 months later, there are talks of them being reversed after all did not go to plan…

FIA F2
Sep 9, 2021
The Red Bull F1 junior aiming to defy geographical odds Plus

The Red Bull F1 junior aiming to defy geographical odds

It's a long way from Pukekohe New Zealand to Milton Keynes, but Red Bull's Kiwi protege Liam Lawson has defied plenty of odds to reach the rung below F1. He's endured disappointment since winning on his F2 debut in Bahrain, but is determined to turn his season around and prove himself worthy of a place in F1

FIA F2
Jul 27, 2021
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?

FIA F2
Jun 14, 2021
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