Formula 2 Styrian Grand Prix 2020

For the second weekend of the Formula 2 season, the drivers stayed in Austria to compete in the second round, held once more at Spielberg. This time, the tyres are a set softer, meaning this weekend, it’s all down to drivers being able to manage the tyres well.

Qualifying

The 30 degrees heat in Spielberg had drivers on the slick tyres, competing for the fastest time they could set. There was a few drivers competing for the second pole position of the season with repeating drivers including Zhou, Ilott and Armstrong, but with the two Carlin drivers of Tsunoda and Daruvala joining the fight. A time of 1:14.803 that was proven unbeatable by many drivers set by Yuki Tsuonda meant he led out first with Zhou and Ilott trailing by in less than 0.1 seconds.

The grid is as follows:
1. Yuki Tsunoda
2. Guanyu Zhou
3. Callum Ilott
4. Luca Ghiotto
5. Jack Aitken
6. Robert Shwartzman
7. Jehan Daruvala
8. Christian Lundgaard
9. Mick Schumacher
10. Felipe Drugovich
11. Marino Sato
12. Marcus Armstrong
13. Roy Nissany
14. Nobuharu Matsushita
15. Dan Ticktum
16. Sean Gelael
17. Pedro Piquet
18. Louis Delétraz
19. Guilherme Samaia
20. Artem Markelov
21. Nobuharu Matsushita
22. Marino Sato

Feature Race

Despite the Formula 3 race being cancelled mid-race and Formula 1 qualifying being delayed, the second round of Formula 2 was held in the pouring rain. Markelov lost it already in the formation lap, meaning he was unable to race. The drivers were in formation lap with the safety car for a few laps, but the race was red flagged because cars were constantly going into safe mode due to low oil temperatures. The race was postponed until about 6:30pm (around 2 hours after the initial race time). There was still a lot of standing water, so it was all about drivers being able to maintain the wet tyres and use the grip within them to make overtakes.

The race started as a rolling start, meaning drivers were released by the safety car to go racing instead of lining up on the grid. The cars followed each other round for 4 laps until the green flag was waved for lap 5. Already, Aitken went for the lunge on Ghiotto, taking 4th position from him. Lundgaard makes his power through the grid, starting with Daruvala for 7th place. Lower down the grid, Gelael overtakes Ticktum for 15th. The following lap, Ghiotto goes wide allowing Shwartzman to get ahead, but it didn’t last long. Ghiotto retakes the position, meaning the Russian settled for 6th. Lundgaard, on a mission, then takes 6th from Robert.

Alesi starts the chain of pitstops on lap 7. Meanwhile, Lundgaard was still charging up the field with confidence. He was gaining on Ghiotto until he made the lunge for it, meaning he was now in 5th position. At the front, Tsunoda was 1.6 seconds ahead of second place, Zhou. Ticktum and Piquet pits, whilst Ilott gains the fastest lap of the race thus far, meaning he was gaining on his fellow Virtuosi teammate, but still 2.4 seconds behind. Behind Ilott, Lundgaard was trailing Aitken, trying to get P5.

For Delétraz, it was a disaster in the pitlane. He had a decent pitstop but managed to stall the car, sending him further back the grid. Meanwhile on track, Shwartzman and Ghiotto were having a fearsome battle, where they were going side by side, but Shwartzman still couldn’t overtake the Italian driver. Further ahead, Tsunoda was having a clean race, being 1.7 seconds ahead of Zhou. The gap reduced when he had a minor error, going deep into turn 2, allowing the gap to reduce to 1.1 seconds, but still led relatively comfortably.

Lap 14 came and Shwartzman finally made the move on Ghiotto for 6th position. Behind, Darvuala overtakes Schumacher for 8th position. Lundgaard still on the hunt for the win in the wet conditions, now 4th after overtaking Aitken.

Following the previous lap, Campos racer Aitken and Hitech racer Mazepin dive into the pits from 5th and 6th, allowing Lundgaard breathing space to attack Ilott. This allowed Drugovich to be in 7th position, though it was being fought by rookie Marcus Armstrong. However, a lap later (on lap 18), the ART team opted to pit the Kiwi in, going for the undercut strategy.

Schumacher pits from 6th and is immediately battling with Ghiotto for track position. Due to Ghiotto on the undercut strategy, he had the grip to overtake, allowing him to take 10th position.

With the tyres now not being in unison with Lundgaard, he pits from 4th on the track on lap 21 and comes out 9th, behind British driver Aitken. On the following lap, front runner Zhou pits with Shwartzman, pitting from 6th and 7th respectively, whilst Ilott comes in the lap after. Tsunoda was called in to pit in retaliation to his rival Zhou, but with radio issues, he ended up pitting 3 laps later. He comes out 4th but is immediately overtaken by Nissany.

Shwartzman, with the grip advantage of coming in a lot earlier, overtakes Zhou, which proved significant for the race lead. Shwartzman now had a 1.7 lead ahead of Zhou. His fellow Prema teammate, Mick Schumacher, was battling with Aitken for 6th position. The fight between Ghiotto and Armstrong continued until Luca went wide, allowing Marcus to take 9th position.

With the laps closing in, drivers went for more moves to improve their chances in the sprint race and gain points in the championship. Armstrong took 7th position ahead of Aitken on lap 30. Due to the late stop, Tsunoda now had the tyre advantage of new ones, allowing him to gain time on Shwartzman quickly. Meanwhile, Lundgaard was going backwards, losing a position due to going wide. Similarly, on lap 32, Daruvala went wide and lost 2 positions, putting him in 12th. On the final lap of the race, Schumacher made the move on Ilott, who was losing pace, putting him in 4th.

The feature race results are:
1. Robert Shwartzman
2. Yuki Tsunoda
3. Guanyu Zhou
4. Mick Schumacher
5. Callum Ilott
6. Christian Lundgaard
7. Marcus Armstrong
8. Dan Ticktum
9. Jack Aitken
10. Sean Gelael
11. Luca Ghiotto
12. Jehan Daruvala
13. Felipe Drugovich
14. Nikita Mazepin
15. Roy Nissany
16. Marino Sato
17. Nobuharu Matsushita
18. Pedro Piquet
19. Louis Delétraz
20. Guilherme Samaia
21. Giuliano Alesi
22. DNS Artem Markelov

Sprint Race

The sprint race grid is:
1. Dan Ticktum
2. Marcus Armstrong
3. Christian Lundgaard
4. Callum Ilott
5. Mick Schumacher
6. Guanyu Zhou
7. Yuki Tsunoda
8. Robert Shwartzman
9. Jack Aitken
10. Sean Gelael
11. Luca Ghiotto
12. Jehan Daruvala
13. Felipe Drugovich
14. Nikita Mazepin
15. Roy Nissany
16. Marino Sato
17. Nobuharu Matsushita
18. Pedro Piquet
19. Louis Delétraz
20. Guilherme Samaia
21. Giuliano Alesi
22. Artem Markelov

Ticktum had a good start to keep first place from Armstrong, however for feature race winner, Shwartzman, it wasn’t ideal. Spinning round on the exit of turn 1 ended his race there. Aitken had an incredible start and immediately made the lunge on Tsunoda and Gelael from the grid, but had to back out to make sure there wasn’t an incident. For Lundgaard, he overtook his teammate, allowing him to claim second behind the DAMS driver.

Schumacher wanted to enter the ART battle by the two teammates but kept patient behind. Behind them, the Virtuosi duo of Ilott and Zhou were fighting for 5th. The virtual safety car was called out to retrieve Robert’s broken down car on the exit of turn 1.

Onto lap 3 and the racing resumes. Ticktum maintains his lead after a decent restart ahead of Lundgaard, however, the Dane was on a mission to win for the first time in Formula 2. For Marino Sato, his weeks in Austria weren’t ending well, this time crawling back into the pitlane.

A send into turn 3 for Lundgaard permitted him to take first position from the Brit, but he wasn’t going down without a fight. Through into turn 4, Ticktum tries to retake, but Lundgaard had the better exit, allowing him to get away. Further back, Alesi was making some moves up to 15th, taking Delétraz and Nissany within a lap. However, Nissany doesn’t go down without retaking the position from Alesi once more.

Tsunoda, Gelael, Aitken and Mazepin are all fighting for the final points paying positions of 7th and 8th, all in a DRS train besides Tsunoda who is around 3 seconds behind Ilott. At the front, Armstrong was gaining on the Briton in 2nd place. Meanwhile, Lundgaard was having a race of his own, now 2 seconds ahead of Ticktum and Armstrong. Schumacher trailed the other two drivers, being 0.5 seconds behind the Kiwi.

Come the start of lap 10, Tsunoda started to drop down the order, further revealing a clutch issue. Delétraz, Nissany and Alesi still battled away for 14th position, moving positions frequently. Contact with Delétraz meant Nissany came in to change tyres. Further up the grid, Aitken takes 7th from Gelael.

Through into turn 4, Schumacher made the move on Armstrong, taking the final podium position from him. This move didn’t last though as he comes into the pits due to a faulty fire extinguisher that went off. This meant Armstrong retook third once again, allowing an ART double podium.

Lower down the grid, Markelov and Alesi were fighting for 15th, with Alesi retaking the position from his experienced teammate. At the front, Lundgaard was extending his lead, with Ticktum trying to close in the gap, decreasing the lead through sector 1 and sector 3. Despite this, he still had a 3 second lead ahead.

Despite there being only 2 laps left of the race, Ilott was gaining on his Chinese teammate Zhou, now within DRS range. Zhou was also moving in on Armstrong. However, the few laps left wasn’t enough, allowing Armstrong to keep the 3rd position.

A gap of 2.2 seconds ahead of Ticktum meant the Dane wins his first Formula 2 race as a rookie.

The sprint race results are:
1. Christian Lundgaard
2. Dan Ticktum
3. Marcus Armstrong
4. Guanyu Zhou
5. Callum Ilott
6. Jack Aitken
7. Sean Gelael
8. Nikita Mazepin
9. Jehan Daruvala
10. Luca Ghiotto
11. Nobuharu Matsushita
12. Louis Delétraz
13. Felipe Drugovich
14. Pedro Piquet
15. Giuliano Alesi
16. Artem Markelov
17. Guilherme Samaia
18. Roy Nissany
19. DNF Mick Schumacher
20. DNF Yuki Tsunoda
21. DNF Marino Sato
22. DNF Robert Shwartzman

We’ll be back once more next week (17-19 July) where we will be moving on to Budapest, Hungary. The team will be following the same schedule for the posts:
Friday – Predictions
Monday – Race Summaries
Wednesday – Race Opinions