ATRL’s Mees Drijgers takes you through the top drivers of September’s F2 weekends in Italy and Russia.
September saw the FIA Formula 2 Championship return for Round 5 and Round 6, which took place at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza in Monza, Italy, and at the Sochi Autodrom in Sochi, Russia, respectively. We’re officially halfway through the season, but the championship fight is far from over, as coming into Monza, only 43 points separated championship leader Oscar Piastri from Theo Pourchaire in sixth place. Who has brought their A-game and has come out on top, and what does that mean for the championship fight?
Ticktum’s race weekend in Monza got off to a rough start, as he became the first retirement of Sprint Race 1 after contact into Turn 1; not only did this mean that he lost out on vital points in Race 1, he would also start Sprint Race 2 from the back. Ticktum fought his way through the grid to finish P11, making up 11 places throughout the race. After a disappointing Saturday, he regained his strength on Sunday during the Feature Race, finishing third, taking 15 points home, and scoring his sixth podium of the season. Ticktum managed to take this momentum with him into Sochi Round 6. After starting from reverse grid pole in the Sprint Race, he kept the lead from start to finish and achieved his second victory of the season; he scored some more valuable points in Sochi’s Feature Race, bringing it home in fifth.
After qualifying in second for Monza’s Feature Race, Daruvala was unable to score points in Monza’s Sprint Race 1, starting and finishing the race in ninth. He quickly turned that around in Sprint Race 2, starting from the front row and converting that into his first win of the season. Daruvala lost positions during the Feature Race, starting in second but bringing it home in P5. On Saturday, Daruvala was on track for another points finish until a spin bumped him out of the top 10 and caused him to finish the race in P12. He picked himself up during Sunday’s Feature Race; after qualifying in second on Friday for the second weekend in a row, Daruvala finished the race in P3, scoring his fourth podium of the season.
Piastri’s Monza weekend got off to a good start, claiming his second pole position of the season and gaining six positions during Sprint Race 1 to finish in fourth. Piastri consistently scored points throughout the rest of the weekend, with a P7 finish in the second Sprint Race after also starting in seventh. On Sunday, he got his first Feature Race win of the season, starting the race on pole position. After scoring his third pole position in a row in Sochi, he got unlucky during the first and only Sprint Race, finishing just outside the points. On Sunday, he won his second Feature Race of the season, only two weeks after winning his first; he became the first driver this season to win two Feature Races in a row.
Pourchaire started his weekend in Monza off strong, starting Sprint Race 1 on the second starting row and converting that into a race win, his second of the season. His race win put him in tenth position on the qualifying grid for Sprint Race 2, and he would be unable to gain any positions, thus finishing the race in tenth and missing out on essential points on the road to getting his Super License. He recovered quite strongly on Sunday, only just missing out on a podium and finishing in fourth. Pourchaire scored a decent fifth place in Saturday’s Sprint Race and ended up on the podium in the Feature Race, gaining him 18 crucial points to claim fifth place in the driver’s championship.
Shwartzman had two very consistent weekends in Monza and Sochi, ultimately scoring points in all five races. Shwartzman started Sprint Race 1 in twelfth place and gained six positions to finish in sixth place eventually. He would also finish Monza’s Feature Race in sixth after once again starting twelfth on the grid; these two results would end up being his lowest classification of both weekends. In Monza’s second Sprint Race, Shwartzman scored another podium, which would see him take home another third-place trophy. In Sochi, Shwartzman finished on the podium in the Sprint Race, scoring another third place, and he just missed out on yet another podium in Sunday’s Feature Race, bring it home in fourth.
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