Latifi opens F2 season with win despite slow pit stop

Formula Two

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Nicholas Latifi began the new Formula 2 season on a high by winning from fourth on the grid in Bahrain.

The DAMS driver led the field home by six seconds despite losing time during his mandatory pit stop.

Pole -sitter Luca Ghiotto lost ground at the start after apparently suffering clutch problems – a fault which dogged F2’s current cars when they were introduced last year. He made a bad getaway on the formation lap and despite discussing it with his team, suffered the same again when the race began.

While Ghiotto fell to sixth Louis Deletraz, Latifi, Nyck De Vries, Jack Aitken and Nobuharu Matsushita all benefited. Sean Gelael and Sergio Sette Camara also struggled to get away, leaving them battling with Mick Schumacher to regain places. The only driver to lose out as badly as Ghiotto was Correa, who fell to the back of the grid.

Gelael was putting in one of his most convincing performance to date until DRS failure caused him to spin on lap five. The Prema driver was sent spinning across the track backwards at turn one, fortunately avoiding a collision.

Last year the optimum window for pitting was around lap 17 of 33 but most front-runners came in a lap or two earlier, gambling on leaving the longer stint for a warming track. Tatiana Calderon and Magaveer Raghunathan were the only drivers not to have pitted by lap 18.

De Vries took over the lead but Latifi hit his optimum tyre temperatures faster and made three passes in three laps, putting himself in a comfortable lead and controlling the race from then on, pulling out a big gap

Ghiotto recovered to second, overtaking both Sette Camara and Deletraz on lap 25 while best-performing rookie Anthoine Hubert also made a double pass on both Carlins for fourth just a few laps later. Deletraz, De Vries and Aitken followed him home, while a late pass by Schumacher earned him eighth place and pole position for tomorrow’s race.

Matsushita and Guanyu Zhou completed the scorers. Raghunathan’s late pit stop gamble didn’t deliver, but Calderon made a huge charge over the final laps, gaining around five seconds per lap to finally beat Callum Ilott for 13th behind Ralph Boschung and Giuliano Alesi.

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    Hazel Southwell
    Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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  • 8 comments on “Latifi opens F2 season with win despite slow pit stop”

    1. This could be a strange season to watch. Surely nobody would argue that Latifi, Ghiotto, Deletraz and the like are the next big thing and I’d imagine no F1 team is seriously looking at them. To get anywhere, it’s really essential to come into F2 and make a big impression immediately, like Vandoorne, Leclerc, Russell and Norris.

      Personally, I’d suggest Hubert, de Vries (slightly too old?) and Schumacher are probably the most interesting ones to watch this year. de Vries is surely on his last chance, while the others will have to finish top 5 to keep a buzz about them.

      Schumacher starting from reverse grid pole tomorrow could be good, his pace was very good towards the end of the feature race.

      1. I think Sette Camara could make it to F1. He did well today, dropped to 12th or 13th off the start but recovered to a podium. Doubt he’ll be amazing in F1, but he’s better than Nasr/Ericsson etc.

      2. Sette Camara is a rising talent, people usually forgot that he’s only 20 years old. He was up there almost every race last season. He had a very decent qualify comparison with Norris. He just needs to put things together. You can’t also forgot that these names that being beaten the last 3-4 seasons like Ghiotto, Lafiti, they lost to very talented guys like Leclerc and Russell, they’re fast for sure, not F1 material maybe, but a very good metric to any rookie like Mick.

        1. Yes, spot on a ou Sette. He had a really mature race and was able to improve consistently after losing several positions on the start. It’s still very early to judge Mick, he had a clean race, but nothing impressive in my opinion. But for sure starting on pole tomorrow will be interesting.

    2. 5th season in GP2/F2, if he finally wins a title it won’t mean much. His money keeps him here season after season, wonder when he will finally move on?

    3. I just can’t watch F2 anymore because I just no longer find the ‘racing’ to be as great as it used to be because of DRS & the way the tyre are now.

      The gimmicks were never needed & before they introduced them the racing used to be some of the best i’ve ever seen. They could race close, They could fight hard & they could/would overtake in places you wouldn’t think overtaking was possible & the overtaking was all down to the skill & bravery of the drivers.

      The way it is now, I just don’t enjoy it… A series I used to adore has turned into something I just don’t want to watch because I hate what the gimmicks have done to it. Maybe there is tons more passing, Maybe the effect of the tyres have made things more all over the place… But I just don’t enjoy the way it is now & given how much I used to love & look forward to watching this series the fact I no longer enjoy or want to watch it makes me a bit sad.

      1. Agree about the DRS. Not really needed and detract the race craft needed.

    4. Guys can I give a suggestion. Would it be possible to had a result table just like with F1?

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