Formula 2: Antonelli takes his first win in the rain

Formula 2: Antonelli takes his first win in the rain

On Saturday morning it rained on the Silverstone track, then stopped and then started again, and the tarmac wasn’t just wet – there was a danger of areas of standing water on the track.

Therefore, the start of the Formula 2 sprint was given on the road and the fight started after one lap behind the safety car. The lead was maintained by Kimi Antonelli, the Prema rider, who started the sprint from pole position and immediately started to increase his lead over the peloton.

Despite the difficult conditions on the circuit, especially the limited visibility, the start went without any major incidents, except that Oliver Berman, driving at the end of the top ten, damaged the front wing of someone else’s car, but kept fighting.

Already in the first lap Gabriel Bortoleto began to take active action and carried out a rather daring overtaking manoeuvre, ahead of Jack Crawford and taking over the 4th position from the American. The leader of the personal classification, Paul Aron, for whom it was extremely important to earn at least some points, broke through from the 12th position and was already in tenth place.

It was clear that the drivers were having a hard time keeping the cars on the track, and on lap 4 Juan Manuel Correa’s car spun, after which the race management decided to stop the race. The red flags were due to the fact that it was already dangerous to continue in such conditions.

All cars returned to the pit lane, which was to Berman’s advantage – Prema mechanics immediately replaced his car’s damaged front wing.

Some drivers got out of their cars, while others stayed in the cockpit waiting for further instructions. And soon the decision of the race management was known: the restart would take place at 13:40 local time. Very soon.

The top ten at the restart looked like this: Kimi Antonelli – Zane Maloney – Kush Maini – Gabriel Bortoleto – Jack Crawford – Franco Colapinto – Dennis Hauger – Victor Martin – Oliver Berman – Paul Aron.

Since only the top eight riders at the end of the sprint receive points, it was expected that Aron would continue in the hope of earning at least something to strengthen his leading position in the individual competition.

The safety car came out onto the track so that the experienced Bernd Maylander, the regular driver, could assess the condition of the track before the restart. The peloton returned to the track from the pit lane behind his green Aston Martin Vantage, and a fairly large plume of spray could be seen behind each of the cars. It was risky to restart in such conditions, and for a few laps the peloton followed the safety car, with all the riders doing everything they could to warm up the tyres in one way or another.

On lap 7 the fight resumed and a very intense battle for 3rd position immediately broke out between Maini and Bortoleto, teammates at Invicta Racing, but the Indian racer managed to hold on to it.

In one lap Antonelli managed to gain a lead of two plus seconds over Maloney, but on the next lap the following happened: Jose “Pepe” Marti could not react to Aron’s comments in these difficult conditions when exiting turn 5. His car slowed down and hit him from behind. Both stopped and this could have been the decisive moment of the season, as the Estonian was denied the chance to earn points.

But on the same lap, his main rival, Isaac Hadjar, also flew off the track! The French driver made a mistake himself, lost control on the wet track, flew to the side of the road and got stuck in the gravel.

The safety car came out. The Prema team informed Antonelli that the rain should stop in five minutes.

On the 13th lap they restarted, already the second during the short race on Saturday, with only 8 laps to go until the finish. Antonelli acted very confidently again and created a lead of more than a second after the first few corners.

But his partner, Oliver Berman, was lucky: he couldn’t stop Dennis Hauger’s attack, and the Norwegian was ahead of him and pushed him to 10th position. After which Oliver tried to counterattack his opponent, but it all ended in him flying off the track and at that moment eight rival cars drove past.

Bortoleto continued to attack Maini fiercely, but he still held third position. Meanwhile, Antonelli demonstrated his ability to ride in the wet and pulled further away from Zane Maloney: by the 15th lap his lead was over three seconds.

On lap 16, Zach O’Sullivan poked Victor Martin’s car in an attempt to take 5th position from him, sending the Frenchman into a spin at Turn 4 – another retirement from the Alpine youth program clearly did not improve his mood.

At the same time, Berman, who was riding at the very back of the pack, slowed down a lot, stopped and stopped – it seems that his car, in addition to all the adventures, had technical problems.

After a period of yellow flags and a virtual safety car mode, the battle on track resumed, but Joshua Duerksen’s car immediately spun, making a few pirouettes on the track, but the Paraguayan AIX Racing driver was able to return, albeit in last position.

With two laps to go before the finish, Antonelli was comfortably in the lead, already six seconds ahead of everyone else, and behind him the battle for positions continued. Crawford managed to stay ahead of Colapinto after a duel that lasted several turns and reach 4th position.

On the last lap Bortoleto made another decisive attack on Maini and it looked like he could stay ahead of him, but his Indian teammate would not give up third position. Gabriel however clearly felt that he deserved a place on the podium more, so he decided to take another risk in the last two corners.

There was contact between the two cars of the Invicta Racing team, but both remained on track, and it all ended when the Brazilian overtook his partner, but already on the start-finish straight, and actually on the side of the road.

And the victory – the first of the season by the way – rightly went to Kimi Antonelli. Moreover, he was on the podium for the first time in Formula 2, which of course pleased both him and his team, and Toto Wolff, who is betting on the young Italian, who we can see in Formula 1 next year.

Since Paul Aron and Isaac Hadjar did not finish, their position in the individual competition did not change: the Estonian remains in the lead with a lead of only 9 points, but today’s podium of Gabriel Bortoleto allowed the Brazilian to consolidate his position in the competition. 3rd place. Unless of course the result of the chaotic rain race is revised after intervention of the stewards.

The results are being prepared…

Source: F1 News

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