Back to Business: F2 Returns to Silverstone

ATRL’s Mees Drijgers updates you on who to look out for at this weekend’s F2 British Grand Prix.

After three thrilling races in Baku and the 40-day break that followed the Round 3 weekend, the FIA Formula 2 Championship returns for Round 4. The teams are following F1 to Silverstone for another weekend of racing. As the championship reaches the halfway mark, both teams and drivers will be looking for a big batch of points to take back with them to home base. 

One To Watch: Guanyu Zhou

Chinese driver Guanyu Zhou is driving his third season for UNI Virtuosi in F2, having finished previous seasons in 7th and 6th. He is the current championship leader, having been on the podium in 4 out of 9 races, two of those being wins in the Bahrain Feature Race and the first Sprint Race in Monaco. Other than his two wins, he’s bagged himself two podiums this season. Together with Oscar Piastri and Christian Lundgaard, Zhou is part of Alpine’s driver academy; if he manages to score a significant number of points on the British track, he has a high chance to stay in contention for the championship win, which in turn might give him a shot at the Alpine seat in the coming years.

Zhou after winning in Monaco (Photo via @gyzhou_33 on Twitter)

Redemption Weekend: Christian Lundgaard

Christian Lundgaard has had a rough start to this year’s F2 campaign, only scoring points in three out of the nine races so far. The Danish driver is in his second season of F2 with the French team ART, only finishing 6th last year and currently standing in 13th, which is mainly due to the three DNFs he’s suffered in Monaco and Baku. At the moment, Lundgaard is the lowest ranking Alpine academy driver; however, the field is still very close, so a good amount of points could easily allow him to climb up the rankings. 

One To Watch: Liam Lawson

Red Bull Junior Liam Lawson is no stranger to the turns of Silverstone, having already climbed to the top step of the podium during his F3 campaign in 2020. Even though he’s a rookie in F2, he won his debut race in Bahrain in Round 1, and would have been able to add another win to that list if it weren’t for his unfortunate disqualification in Monaco. The Kiwi driver scored another podium in Bahrain, where he finished third in Sunday’s Feature Race. Both Lawson his fellow Red Bull academy teammate Juri Vips were confident in the speed their Hitech cars had in Baku; if they can carry that speed over with them to Silverstone, Lawson will surely pose a threat.

Lawson after winning in Bahrain (Photo via @HitechGP on Twitter)

Redemption Weekend: Marcus Armstrong

Ever since being promoted to F2, the F3 2019 vice-champion has entered one of the more difficult periods in his racing career. Marcus Armstrong finished his rookie year in 13th place with French team ART and moved to DAMS to compete in his second F2 campaign in 2021. So far, he’s been the unluckiest driver in the current season, DNFing in five out of nine races and only scoring points in two, putting him in 15th position in the championship standings. If the Kiwi driver manages to turn his luck around in Silverstone, he might be able to score himself some much-needed points in the process.

One To Watch: Oscar Piastri

Australian driver Oscar Piastri is the reigning FIA Formula 3 champion, winning the campaign with PREMA. In his rookie F2 year, the Alpine academy driver once again lines up with PREMA, together with FDA driver Robert Shwartzman. Not only did he win a race on his debut weekend, but he also scored another three podiums, all of those being second places, just one step away from the top step of the podium. Currently, 2nd in the standings, only 5 points behind fellow Alpine academy driver Guanyu Zhou, a good amount of Silverstone points might see Piastri take the lead in the championship.

Redemption Weekend: Theo Pourchaire

17-year old Frenchman Theo Pourchaire has already proved he’s got a few tricks up his sleeve, winning the Feature Race in Monaco and taking home 39 points from Round 2 overall. He’s scored points in 6 out of 9 races and currently sits in 6th in the championship standings, closely followed by Red Bull juniors Jehan Daruvala and Liam Lawson. The FIA has allowed Pourchaire to race in Silverstone after breaking the radius in his left arm during Baku’s Feature Race. While Pourchaire is healed enough to return to F2 next weekend safely, we shall wait and see if it hinders his success on track. 

Theo Pourchaire post-Baku 2021 (Photo via @Formula2 on Twittter)

One To Watch: Robert Shwartzman

Russian driver and member of the FDA Robert Shwartzman was one of last season’s F2 title contenders after winning the FIA Formula 3 Championship in 2019. He finished 4th in the standings with PREMA and is competing in his second F2 season again in 2021. Shwartzman had his best weekend yet in Round 3 in Baku, where he scored his first win of the season, a third, and a fifth place. He is currently third in the championship standings and once again a strong contender for this year’s championship title; will it be podiums and points for PREMA or suffering for Shwartzman in Silverstone?

Shwartzman after winning in Baku (Photo via @PREMA_Team on Twitter)

Redemption Weekend Dutch Pride Edition: Richard Verschoor & Bent Viscaal

Both Bent Viscaal and Richard Verschoor have entered their rookie season in F2 this year, with Viscaal driving for Trident and Verschoor taking on the white and blue colors of MP Motorsport. They are currently 16th and 12th in the standings, respectively, with Bent scoring a fourth place in Baku and Richard finishing in the points four times, his highest finish being a fourth place in Bahrain. Both drivers might still have a few surprises in store for us, and if they can turn their luck around and put in some solid performances, they might be able to climb up the ranks and gain some positions in the standings.

One To Watch: Juri Vips

Having already raced four rounds for DAMS in last year’s FIA Formula 2 campaign, Juri Vips is participating in his first full F2 season this year, driving for Hitech GP. Vips is currently 4th in the standings, making him the highest-ranked Red Bull junior of the season, ranking higher than Liam Lawson (8th) and Jehan Daruvala (7th). Though Vips’ start of the season might not have been what he wished for, scoring zero points in the opening round, he’s fought his way back up and became the first driver since 2016 to score multiple race wins in the same weekend in Baku, where he won the second Sprint Race and Feature Race, locking out the front row with teammate Lawson. More stand-out performances are sure to come from the Estonian in Silverstone. 

Vips after winning in Baku (Photo via @HitechGP on Twitter)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mees was introduced to the world of F1 by one of her friends in July 2020 and hasn’t missed a race weekend since. Her favourite teams are McLaren and Williams, but since starting to watch F2 in 2021, she now also actively supports Lawson, Vips, Piastri, and Zhou. She recently got her Bachelor’s degree in English Language and Culture, and is currently studying Translation and English Literature and Culture. When she’s not watching motorsport, she’s either watching football matches (preferably Real Madrid), reading a book, or watching streams on Twitch.

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