Capitalizing on a perfectly timed safety car period, MP Motorsport driver Nobuharu Matsushita took victory in the FIA Formula 2 feature race after climbing up 17 positions.
When the lights went out, Prema driver Robert Shwartzman had a marvellous getaway and managed to overtake pole-sitter Callum Ilott. The Russian’s team-mate Mick Schumacher also had a fantastic start and jumped from fifth to third.
Just moments later, the safety car was deployed after Marcus Armstrong spun out at Turn 4 and ended up buried in the gravel. At the end of Lap 2, the safety car headed in.
On Lap 5, Yuki Tsunoda and Jack Aitken dived into the pits to take fresh rubber. Three laps later, Ilott passed Shwartzman who was struggling on his soft tyres. The Russian quickly reacted to his tyre issues by visiting his Prema team in the pits to take new boots.
Following Ilott’s and Shwartzman’s pit stops, Schumacher led on the track on his hard tyres, but he was yet to pit later on. In the meantime, Ilott set the fastest lap of the race with a time of 1m34.234.
Schumacher almost lost the back end of his Prema F2 car on lap 15, running wide between Turn 8 and 9. The German continued to lead, but his rear tyres seemed to get critically bad around lap 20.
On Lap 23, Prema called Schumacher in as the German could hardly keep his car on the track. On the same lap, Felipe Drugovich found the way to pass Shwartzman.
Sean Geleal touched Giuliano Alesi’s car that stopped at Turn 10. The safety car was deployed to give the marshals time to clear the stricken car.
Nobuharu Matsushita and Nikita Mazepin pitted under the safety car period, gaining a huge amount of time with that. Ilott and Shwartzman also boxed for the second time to take new boots.
When the safety car came back into the pits, Tsunoda was leading on his worn tyres. The Japanese tried everything to hold on to his lead. While Ilott was adamant to pass Tsunoda, Matsushita surprised the championship leader by firing around him at Turn 4.
On lap 31, Roy Nissany crashed into the walls at Turn 3 with the incident requiring another safety car period. When the safety car returned to the pits, there was only a lap to go. Mazepin fought his way up to third in the turmoil with Matsushita and Shwartzman maintaining the first two position.