Jack Aitken will never forget this day, as he is collecting his maiden FIA Formula 2 victory. The Briton drove in style over the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya tricky tarmac and changing weather conditions. Thailand’s Alexander Albon, for DAMS, and UK Lando Norris, for Carlin, flanked the Renault Formula 1 junior on the podium.
Before the start, betting pools were run among teams on how many breaks they would have to suffer during the 26 programmed laps, since the track was still wet with overnight showers. Add to that the reverse starting order and the risky call of using slicks, and the show was guaranteed.
As expected, three virtual and one real safety cars were called in as a result of numerous accidents, off track excursions and breakdowns. Therefore, the pack bunched up a number of times, and overtaking manoeuvers mushroomed thanks to the unlimited DRS use. Aitken excelled at interpreting the race conditions: he snatched the lead his a fantastic start, and held his opponents’ attacks off while keeping a cool head. As pressure mounted, he responded with yet another fastest lap.
In the end, and despite the eventful race, Aitken saw the chequered flag one second and a half earlier than Albon, and almost three seconds ahead of Norris, who finished second and third. Winner of yesterday’s race George Russell (ART Grand Prix) admirably climbed up the order from 8th to 4th place and set the fastest lap, but he was outshone by Sean Gelael (PERTAMINA PREMA Theodore Racing), who stormed from 15th to 6th place.
Pole sitter Artem Markelov (Russian Time) was the other side of the coin: he wasted this privileged position and, after a long list of incidents, he struggled to make it into the points and finished a modest 9th.
Spanish driver Roberto Merhi (MP Motorsport) spun off in the early stages and subsequently struggled among the backmakers. In a rather disappointing day, mechanical troubles forced him to retire with only 4 laps to go, while he was 15th overall.
After the races run at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya this weekend, Lando Norris (Carlin) stays at the top of the standings with 80 points, ahead of Alexander Albon (DAMS, 67 points) and George Russell (ART Grand Prix, 62 points). Next stop is Monaco, where these young talents fighting to find a seat in F1 will surely have crowds watching them in awe at the racetrack.