Marcus Armstrong controlled Clément Novalak after taking the lead at the start (Photo: Reproduction/F2)
The Formula 2 sprint race in Zandvoort, this Saturday (3), opened the double round in the Netherlands as expected: without the greatest emotions in the world on a track where overtaking is extremely rare. In a drawing like this, Marcus Armstrong did the best thing he can do: he bet on the start, took the lead and went for the victory.
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Armstrong started in second place according to Formula 2’s inverted grid system – he started ninth in the main race on Sunday – and had Clément Novalak ahead of him. At the start, he swallowed his opponent, took the lead and went on to do what is most logical in Zandvoort: he controlled the actions without spending too much equipment.
Novalak did not come close, but he also remained in second place. Although Dennis Hauger and Liam Lawson were faster than him, there was nowhere to go and a train was forming. Armstrong thanked him and set out to win without any threat.
Further back, Felipe Drugovich, who took pole at the weekend and took the lead on Sunday, started in tenth and stayed there: but managed to score a point after recording the best lap of the race. Better than the only rival in the fight for the title, Théo Pourchaire, who left in 16th place, made a mistake, dropped to 20th place and stayed there. Drugovich is getting closer and closer to the title.
Behind Armstrong, Novalak, Hauger and Lawson, Jüri Vips, Richard Verschoor, Ayumu Iwasa and Logan Sargeant finished the points zone. Jack Doohan and Drugovich rounded out the top-10.
O BIG PRIZE accompanies LIVE and IN REAL TIME all activities of the Formula 1 Dutch GP. In F2, the start of the main race is scheduled for 5:05 am (GMT-3).
Check out how the race went:
At the edge of Formula 1, F2 arrived in the heat of Zandvoort to get an asphalt of almost 40°C at the time of the start of the sprint race. At least you could say that the weather was stable, with no big surprises.
As always happens, the starting grid of the sprint race has the top-10 inversely proportional to what it will be lined up on Sunday, at the time of the main race. Thus, Clément Novalak was the one who started in front and had Marcus Armstrong next to him in the front row. Felipe Drugovich was in tenth place, with Jack Doohan side by side.
The first start attempt had to be aborted after Tatiana Calderón’s Charouz, who returned to the grid last week in Belgium, did not even leave space. With the car locked, the Colombian driver had to start from the pit lane at Zandvoort.
By the time the match finally took place, Armstrong did well and Novalak, on the contrary, was terrible. Marcus took the lead and saw a golden chance to win the race. Novalak, despite being a teammate of Drugovich in the MP – the home team – could not get a great pace and held the peloton.
Platoon, this one, which had Dennis Hauger, Liam Lawson, Jüri Vips, Richard Verschoor, Ayumu Iwasa and Logan Sargeant, all very close in the positions that were worth points. The only change there, other than the lead, was Lawson taking fourth place from Vips. Doohan and Drugovich followed in ninth and tenth. On a track without overtaking points, like in Holland, starting well is key to getting a result.
The one who knew this very well and was in a hurry was Theo Pourchaire. The Frenchman, seeing the chance of becoming champion slip through his fingers little by little, had started in 16th place after beating alone in the standings. On the second lap, he braked too late in an attempt to overtake David Beckmann and went off the track, dropping to 20th place.
Next off the track was Olli Caldwell, back after a suspension race. The Englishman left the track alone at turn one and had to change the front wing in the pits. He came back in last, even behind Calderón, who had left the pit lane.
Hauger knew he would only have a chance of winning the race if he passed Novalak without too much delay, because the Frenchman would only get away from Armstrong. So he went up, but he didn’t find room to dive for good. Novalak, in fact, held the others back. Between the second and sixth places, nobody had more than 1s advantage over the one behind.
During a period of the race, by the tenth lap, Novalak even entered the opening window of the DRS to catch up with the race leader, but that was it. Soon, he would leave again and not actually approach. The truth was, with half the race, there was no fight for the win. A little later, it became clear that Novalak only closed the gap after Armstrong ran over one of the many pigeons scattered around the corners of Zandvoort.
And there were no dropouts either, but not everything lasts forever. Caldwell did not recover from leaving the track and ended up taking Campos’ car to the pits and leaving it in the garage. What appeared was also an overtaking, the reader, believe it or not. Jehan Daruvala passed Marino Sato… for 16th place.
Everything seemed to be heading towards an uneventful end to the race, but Calderón had other plans and, with four laps to go, he escaped and got his car stuck in the gravel. End of race for her, and safety-car call obligation.
The race management timed well and cleared the car in time for a final green flag lap. The restart always brings possibilities for change, but that’s not what happened either. Thus, Armstrong departed for the third victory of the season. Drugovich even saved a point by setting the best lap of the race.
F2 2022, Dutch GP, Zandvoort, Sprint Race, Final Result:
|1||M ARMSTRONG||High-tech||29 laps|
|12||THE CORDEEL||Van Amersfoort||+6,719|
|14||D BECKMAN||Van Amersfoort||+8,103|
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