Marcus Armstrong secured his first ever Formula 2 win in the first of three races in Saudi Arabia. Robert Shwartzman did well to move up to second in the classification, with two podiums and a sixth place.
21 year old Armstrong secured his maiden F2 victory at the very first race of any category to be held at the Jeddah Corniche circuit. With one round still to go, it was good news too for Robert Shwartzman who thanks to claiming second place and half points in a Feature Race that lasted just five laps and a sixth and a third place in the two Sprint Races, has moved up to second in the standings, with everything to play for next week in Abu Dhabi.
Qualifying. Shwartzman soon got to grips with the track and was second fastest, one tenth off pole sitter and championship leader Oscar Piastri. Armstrong also did well to secure ninth place.
Sprint Race 1. Marcus got away well from second on the grid to take the lead going into the first corner, although the Safety Car came out immediately. Armstrong controlled the restart well after three laps, managing to pull away a bit from the field so that he was out of the DRS zone. A second safety car closed the field up again with four laps remaining and Marcus again controlled the situation calmly, keeping the lead to the chequered flag for his first F2 victory. Robert made up two places at the start but then as he attacked hard, he went off the track, taking Theo Pourchaire with him, for which Robert was given a five second penalty. He closed down almost all of that time in the last 3 laps, also setting the race fastest lap. He crossed the line in fifth, but was classified sixth. “Finally, it’s been a while that I’ve been looking for the win,” said Armstrong after the race. “It was a very close fight and the Safety Car added to the tension. On the last lap Liam (Lawson) got very close but it all went well in the end.”
Sprint Race 2. Shortly after his first F2 win, disappointment awaited Armstrong. Having started ninth, at the first corner after the start, the New Zealander was hit by another driver and that was his race over. Shwartzman started sixth and drove well in a race that saw two Safety Cars, making his way up to third without making any mistakes.
Feature Race. The final race in Jeddah did not go well. The start was delayed while repairs were made to the track and then was immediately red flagged because of an accident involving Theo Pourchaire and former FDA driver Enzo Fittipaldi off the grid. Once the drivers were extricated from their cars, the race resumed, set at 20 minutes plus one lap. The race resumed with a rolling start, after which Shwartzman kept second position behind Piastri. Then on lap 6, another collision between Oliver Caldwell and Guillerme Samaya led to another red flag and the race did not restart. The race result was taken from the end of lap 5, with Piastri winning from Shwartzman, who has now moved up to second place in the classification on 162 ppints. Armstrong finished the very short race in eighth place.
Standings. There’s no time for the Formula 2 crews to draw breath as the eighth and final round of the championship ends in Abu Dhabi next weekend, the series finishing in its traditional home of the Yas Marina circuit.