Following Oliver Rowland’s dramatic win for DAMS yesterday, Formula 2 returned for the Sprint Race at the Hungaroring. After finishing in eighth place in the Feature Race, Alexander Albon secured the reverse grid pole for ART Grand Prix while Norman Nato lined up alongside him on the front row of the grid.
Nobuharu Matsushita wins F2 Sprint Race in Hungary
When the lights went out, the race was underway. Nobuharu Matsushita had the perfect start from fourth and rocketed into the lead while Luca Ghiotto followed the Japanese driver’s line into second, clearing Albon and Nato who dropped down to sixth and seventh.
With his lightning start, Matsushita had a 1.5 second lead by the end of the first lap while Nato cleared Albon for sixth place. After setting fastest lap after fastest lap with clean air out in front, Matsushita extended his lead to 2.2 seconds.
It was apparent that Albon was struggling for pace out on track, and he was quickly passed by Nicholas Latifi for the final points paying position after starting from pole. The Canadian racer then closed the gap to Nato, aiming to gain sixth from the Frenchman. At the front of the pack, Matsushita had a scary off track moment at turn 4, running wide on the exit of the corner, causing him to lose his 2 second lead.
Ghiotto began to struggle for pace in the closing stages of the race, with Nyck de Vries sniffing at the back of the Russian Time driver’s car. Rowland followed behind the Dutchman in fourth, faster than the pair ahead of him. Attacking was the best form of defence for De Vries, and he aggressively launched up the inside of Ghiotto in turn 2 to move into second place while Rowland followed him though to get into the podium positions.
The virtual safety car was deployed on lap 22 for a crash involving Robert Visoiu and Nabil Jeffri, which saw the prior become the first casualty of the race. The green flag then waved and the race was restarted. This did not last long however, and the VSC was deployed once again when Nabil Jeffri had an off track moment in turn 4, rejoining the race unsafely and wiping out Sergio Canamasas in turn 5.
The green flag waved again on lap 23 and Norman Nato got the jump on Nicholas Latifi for sixth place, while the Canadian damaged part of his front wing when trying to take back the position. Nato then continued on a late race charge to overtake Ghiotto for fifth. The Italian driver then dropped through the field like a stone, being passed by Latifi and Albon to drop down to the final points paying position in eighth.
With two laps to go, a late race overtake saw Oliver Rowland grab second place off Nyck de Vries. Matsushita then crossed the line to claim his second sprint race victory of 2017 while both Rowland and De Vries scored a double podium finish in Hungary.
Charles Leclerc missed out on a podium finish for Prema Racing, marking a trophy-less weekend for him. Norman Nato then finished in fifth followed by Latifi in sixth, Albon in seventh, and Ghiotto in eighth.
This weekend, Oliver Rowland has put in a stunning and dominant performance for DAMS, closing in on Charles Leclerc in the Drivers’ Championship. 50 points now separate them going into the summer break. When Formula 2 returns in Belgium, Rowland will be looking to slice this lead further as DAMS look like it has turned a corner in the championship.
Results from the Hungarian Formula 2 Sprint Race:
- Nobuharu Matsushita, ART Grand Prix, 15 points
- Oliver Rowland, DAMS, 12 points
- Nyck de Vries, Rapax, 10 points
- Charles Leclerc, Prema Racing, 8 points
- Norman Nato, Pertamina Arden Racing, 6 points
- Nicholas Latifi, DAMS, 4 points
- Alexander Albon, ART Grand Prix, 2 points
- Luca Ghiotto, Russian Time, 1 point
- Artem Markelov, Russian Time, 0 points
- Sean Gelael, Partamina Arden Racing, 0 points
- Jordan King, MP Motorsport, 0 points
- Louis Deletraz, Racing Engineering, 0 points
- Sergio Sette Camara, MP Motorsport, 0 points
- Santino Ferrucci, Trident, 0 points
- Nabil Jeffri, Trident, 0 points
- Ralph Boschung, Campos Racing, 0 points
- Antonio Fuoco, Prema Racing, 0 points
- Gustav Malja, Racing Engineering, 0 points
- Sergio Canamasas, Rapax, Ret
- Robert Visoiu, Campos Racing, Ret