Sunday, July 14, 2024

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Bortoleto dominates while Campos argues over details

Reigning Formula 3 champion Gabriel Bortoleto began his Formula 2 victories with a dominant drive within the feature race in Austria.

The Brazilian began from third on the grid but quickly moved into the lead and won the race due to a series of fast laps after the pit stop to meet up with Team Campos driver Pepe Marti, who had come to a brief stop during a virtual safety automobile period.

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The start was chaotic as 4 drivers stalled on the beginning of the formation lap, including MP Motorsport's Dennis Hauger, who had to begin from the pits consequently.

Jushua Durksen (AIX) took advantage of his inherited pole position to take the lead within the opening laps before Bortoleto attacked on lap 4 with a manual manoeuvre aided by DRS.

Championship leader Zane Maloney's bad streak continued in Austria, where he stalled early within the race after which retired on lap six, prompting a security automobile.

At the identical time the race was neutralized, Marti was pitting. The stop is subject to a post-race investigation as drivers aren’t allowed to pit for a compulsory stop under the VSC, however the stop may be accomplished in the event that they are already there.

A subsequent investigation revealed that although Marti had committed to pit, he had not reached the primary safety automobile line by the point the VSC was deployed. Despite admitting that Marti was “extremely close” to the marker, the stewards decided that this might not be considered a compulsory stop and issued a 10-second stop-go penalty, converted to a 30-second time penalty.

After Bortoleto's pit stop, it turned out that Marti had gained a five-second net advantage, but ultimately it was the fast closing of this gap that proved decisive, and the decisive move for victory took place on lap 20, at Turn 3.

An alternative strategy saw Franco Colapinto (MP Motorsport) lead the sphere with Oliver Bearman the opposite driver trying to play for the long run. Prema driver Bearman’s hopes were dashed when a reliability issue forced him to retire halfway through lap 20 of the race.

For Colapinto, this strategy paid off as he stopped with eight laps to go, dropping to eighth, before using the supersoft tyres to fight his way through the pack and eventually cross the road in second, ahead of the Campos duo of Marti and Isaac Hadjar after the ultimate moves.

The tension mounted for Campos after Marti was slow to permit Hadjar, fighting for the championship, to pass to Bortoleto. But it grew much more so when Hadjar, who was unable to point out the pace he claimed to have, did not return the favour within the closing stages, as an alternative keeping the ultimate podium position for himself, with Marti fourth.

Overall leader Paul Aron (Hitech) crossed the road in fifth place, but dropped one position to Enzo Fittipaldi after receiving a five-second penalty for braking too quickly during an early battle with Hadjar.

Marti’s penalty saw Aron return to his original position on the finish, with the Campos-based rider dropping down the points standings to fifteenth.

Halfway through the season, Aron still tops the standings with a nine-point advantage over Hadjar. Bortoleto is third, 10 points ahead of Maloney, who has scored some extent within the last 4 races. His improved form has seen Colapinto now level with Moloney, but he stays fifth on the strength of 1 win to the Rodin driver's two.

F2 Austria Main Race Results

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