Mazepin wins F2 feature race at Silverstone

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Following up his first Formula 2 podium in he previous round, Hitech driver Nikita Mazepin clinched his first ever victory in Formula 2 in today’s feature race at Silverstone. UNI-Virtuosi’s Guanyu Zhou was second, ahead of Yuki Tsunoda in third.

Callum Illot stalled on the grid and had to start the feature race from the pit lane instead of his second grid spot. Starting from the third position, Mick Schumacher got a sensational getaway at the start to fly to the top of the field. Championship leader Robert Shwartzman also made up five positions with a fantastic first lap.

The 20-year-old German was unable to escape from the field with Nikita Mazepin threatening Schumacher. On lap 4, the Russian found the way past and overtook Schumacher on the outside line at Turn 15. Meanwhile, Illot was adamant to work his way up the order after his miserable start to the race. The Ferrari-backed Briton was 14th on lap 6.

Louis Deletraz was the first driver to pit, going into the pit lane for new tyres on lap 7.

On lap 9, the race leaders Mazepin and Schumacher dived into the pit lane. After leading the first part of the race, the duo had to overtake those who were yet to visit the pit for new tyres.

Renault junior driver Christian Lungaard overtook Schumacher on lap 15, using the moment when the German was held up by Artem Markelov.

The pole-sitter Felipe Drugovich made his pit stop on lap 18. The remainder of those on the alternate tyre, which included Zhou, followed within the next three laps, which handed Mazepin back the lead.

On his fresh medium rubber, Zhou was on other planet in the closing stages with his rivals having been powerless against the Chinese driver. Only Mazepin was able to withstand the pressure.

In his post-race assessment, Mazepin said: “I am extremely happy, but it is a little bit difficult to put how I feel into words because it was reasonably unexpected. There was so much going on that I wasn’t really thinking about leading the race.

“I am extremely happy because it really feels like a nice string of progression and I am very chuffed for the team. They gave me a fantastic car, which helped me to look after those tyres, and make them last the race on a difficult track like Silverstone where tyres are an issue.

“To come away with my first win the Formula 2 Championship after having my first podium last weekend, makes me extremely motivated and extremely happy and I am very much looking forward to the rest of the season,” the Russian concluded.

Shwartzman remains at the top of the Drivers’ Championship with 81 points, but Ilott has closed the gap to just eight between them after the Russian failed to score any points. Lundgaard remains third on 55, while Mazepin has leapt to fourth on 52. Zhou is up to fifth with 51 points.

There has been a change in the lead in the Teams’ Championship, with UNI-Virtuosi leapfrogging to first with 124, ahead of PREMA Racing on 122. ART are third ahead of Hitech and Carlin.