Formula 2 Russian Grand Prix 2020

Before the two month hiatus for Formula 2, the drivers race at Sochi Autdrom, following the Formula 1 calendar. Mick Schumacher is leading the championship by 8 points, prior the races with Callum Ilott in second and Christian Lundgaard in 3rd.

Qualifying

Schumacher starts the session with a 1:49.924, in which Shwartzman beats by 0.29 seconds. Jehan Daruvala then set the quickest lap time of the session within his first run, putting a 1:49.526 in the timing sheets. Zhou had the quickest sector one and a fast sector two, but backs out within the final corners. Similarly his teammate Ilott was on a push lap, but ends up having to back out because of Ghiotto was on the racing line. Lundgaard was also eyeing up a pole lap, setting a purple sector two, but Nissany ended up right in front of him over the line, to only set a time good enough for 6th. Vips ended up backwards around one of the corners, but manages to keep his car going, though meant there was yellow flags in sector three, hampering any laps behind him. Mazepin sets the fastest sector two and three, beating Daruvala by 0.052 seconds to pole. Daruvala retaliates by beating both of the Russian’s sector times to go 0.406 seconds quicker, reclaiming first. Unfortunately for Tsunoda, he misses out by 0.252 to his Indian teammate with a 1:49.320 lap time, having set the best sector one and three.

For the second round of push laps, Delétraz jumps from 17th to 6th, setting a 1:49.967. Similarly, Armstrong, having not set a lap yet, goes to 5th, beating Schumacher by 0.055 seconds. Shwartzman also makes his way up to the front of the grid, setting a time quick enough for third, but his teammate ends up beating him by 0.006 seconds. Daruvala manages to extend his lead at the front by 0.078 seconds with a 1:48.990. Ilott jumps to 3rd, getting ahead of Mick by 2 hundreths, but not for long as his teammate goes quicker than him putting him into 14th. Meanwhile for Jake Hughes’ debut round in Formula 2, he has managed to put him into 10th. Tsunoda ends his session with a 1:48.688, beating his teammate by 0.302 seconds. Schumacher finds some time in his lap to set a lap 0.195 seconds slower than Tsunoda, though slots himself into second. Unfortunately for Daruvala, he could not retaliate from his teammate, losing out by 0.006, but ends up going quicker than Schumacher to give Carlin a 1-2.

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

Feature Race

Tsunoda leads the race whilst Schumacher makes his way up to 2nd already and challenging the Japanese driver to first within the second corner. Daruvala drops back and Ilott are battling each other for third with Ghiotto in the mix. At the back, Vips locks up, whilst Piquet is moving into the corner, causing a collision. Delétraz was behind the Estonian driver and ends up hitting the side of the DAMS car. Meanwhile, Piquet goes sailing into Lundgaard, ending the Dane’s race as he sustains a lot of damage. Drugovich also gets collected up, hitting the back of Louis Delétraz’s car as he is unable to slow down. Nissany didn’t have time to react and ends up rear-ending the Brazilian. Vips, Lundgaard, Nissany and Drugovich end up later retiring because of this incident. Delétraz manages to keep it going, but had to pit for repairs. Ghiotto and Aitken fight side by side until the safety car is deployed, allowing the British driver to stay ahead.

Just a lap later, Vips’ car had been retrieved, allowing racing to resume, come the start of lap 3. But like usual, none of the drivers fancied a move as their tyres and brakes were cold after having a lap off racing. Mazepin breaks this little hiatus by challenging Zhou for 7th and does so. The Chinese driver doesn’t back out as he tries to retake the position but misses out. The switch allowed Shwartzman to gain on them, but wasn’t close enough to challenge for positions. Lower down the grid, Ticktum moved up to 13th past Alesi and now was over one second behind Markelov.

Tsunoda led to Schumacher by 0.7 seconds, but was still being pressured by the German driver. Meanwhile, there was a 1 second gap to Daruvala behind. Ghiotto managed to catch up to Aitken in 6th, but couldn’t find a place to overtake the British driver.

The first driver to pit was Daruvala, pitting from third and ends up in 16th ahead of Piquet. Tsunoda had managed to pull a gap to Schumacher by 1.6 seconds, whilst Ilott sat behind him by 1.3 seconds. Zhou started to pressure Mazepin and was on the rear wing of the Hitech car, but the Russian driver puts his car in a place to disallow the Chinese driver to pass.

Tsunoda, Schumacher, Ghiotto, Shwartzman and Alesi all come in to pit the car for new tyres. Tsunoda has a bit of an issue with the front right, but comes out ahead of Schumacher. Shwartzman’s pitstop doesn’t go as well as his teammate because of the rear right, losing out on track position. Ilott comes out ahead of Daruvala in 12th, but since the rookie Carlin driver has already been out for two laps, he has a grip advantage to the British driver. Meanwhile, Jake Hughes pits from 8th.

Markelov passes Sato for 5th, with the top 7 plus Samaia being the ones left to pit. Mazepin locks up whilst trying to overtake into the second corner, meaning Zhou was able to pass the Russian driver for second. Just a lap later, the Chinese driver was now on the back of Aitken. He attempts a move around the outside but the driver from London defends the inside and gets a better exit out of the corner, meaning Zhou backs out to avoid deteriorating the tyres more. This has allowed Mazepin to gain on the front two by 0.5 seconds on lap 12.

Zhou sends it down the inside which Aitken tries to squeeze him. He manages to get the move done with late braking, but Jack gets the better exit to keep the position from the Virtuosi driver. Mazepin and Armstrong had now caught up to the battle ahead. Zhou’s attempted overtake on Aitken meant he had a compromised exit to the corner, losing a lot of speed thus consequently losing the position to Mazepin.

Aitken and Sato pits for new tyres on lap 18, with Aitken undercutting all the front runners. Aitken comes out in 11th, ahead of Shwartzman, but the Russian driver has an advantage as he has warmer tyres and had already been out for many laps. Meanwhile for the provisional race lead, Tsunoda had been struggling to pass Markelov, allowing Schumacher to catch the Carlin driver.

Mazepin, Zhou, Armstrong, Ticktum and Markelov all come in to pit, allowing Tsunoda to take the race lead, though was under attack by Schumacher. Mick takes the lead of the race going around the outside in the second corner, to switchback into the exit, taking the position. Behind them, Zhou gets past Mazepin once again for 6th and had Daruvala ahead. Ilott also passes Tsunoda two laps later into the final corners of the circuit to move up to 2nd.

Meanwhile, Shwartzman loses 8th to Mazepin into the second corner of the track. Armstrong saw a move on the Russian driver, dropping the Prema rookie to 10th. Robert tried to defend from Ticktum, but ended up going on the marbles to lose the grip advantage, dropping him to 11th. Lower down the grid, Alesi loses 13th to Sato.

Ilott’s tyres started dropping off as he loses 2nd to Tsunoda and Ghiotto was starting to close in on him. It seemed inevitable for Ghiotto to pass him as he closed down the British driver, but it was not enough for the Italian as he loses out on another podium by 0.025 seconds.

Post-race, Delétraz receives two time penalties: one was a 10 second time penalty for being 4s under the minimum delta time when the safety car was called in and the other was a 5 second time penalty, which was for exceeding the minimum delta time in two consecutive marshalling sectors during the safety car period. It doesn’t affect his results as he was at the back of the grid and starts from the same position for the sprint race.

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

Sprint Race

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

Zhou keeps the lead of the race after pulling out a good start. Behind, Mazepin loses out to Aitken and falls back to the battle for third with Daruvala and Ghiotto. Callum and Marcus enter the second corner and the Kiwi driver hits the right sidepod of the British driver, but it was only a light tap meaning the cars could continue on. Lower down the grid, Samaia and Hughes were battling together for positions, when Samaia goes off track to rejoin back on the circuit, but unfortunately hitting the left rear of Hughes’ car, sadly ending both of their races there. Ilott and Tsunoda are racing side by side within the closing corners of the lap, but the British driver brakes later than the other, allowing him to keep the position. Tsunoda doesn’t back down though and goes for it again around the outside into the second corner, but he defends from the Japanese driver.

At the front, Mazepin gets past Aitken around the inside to move up to 2nd. Lower down the grid, Armstrong and Ticktum are fighting each other for 9th. The virtual safety car was deployed to retrieve Hughes’ and Samaia’s car to avoid any potential high-speed collisions. It didn’t take long for the marshals to move the car as within a minute or so, racing resumed.

Schumacher had been eyeing up Aitken, sitting 0.6 seconds behind the British driver. Daruvala was also in the mix sitting a similar distance from the German driver. Mick sent a lunge on Jack into turn 14, down the inside, but Aitken gets a better exit to maintain the position. On the penultimate corner, he finally gets past him, whilst Daruvala follows suit to drop him into 5th. Into turn two, Aitken and Daruvala race side by side for position, but the Indian driver gets pushed out, meaning he had to go around the bollards, thus losing time and dropping to 5th. Ilott also loses a position to Tsunoda in the same corner, pushing him down to 8th.

Armstrong had not been having a good season in general. He sat in 10th, to then lose the position to Shwartzman and Markelov after going wide into the second corner. He then rejoined the track side by side with his own teammate, but loses the inside line and consequently dropping down to 14th.

Zhou was leading from Mazepin by around one second, whilst the gap to Schumacher in third was 3 seconds. Ghiotto and Daruvala had been fighting each other for positions since the start of the race. The Italian driver finally gets past the Indian rookie for 5th, to which his teammate Tsunoda also gets past, dropping the Carlin driver to 7th.

Within one lap, Mazepin was on the rear of Zhou, sitting very close to the back of him. Zhou is defending his position on track, keeping the Russian driver behind. The battle for 4th started when Aitken was fighting with Ghiotto into the first corner. Ghiotto sent a move down the inside on Aitken, but the British driver gets the better exit to keep the position from the Hitech driver. They entered the third and fourth corner side by side wanting to improve on their position. Aitken had collected some marbles, meaning he had reduced grip. Slowly, he was pushing Ghiotto out of the track due to understeer, until they came together, clipping Ghiotto’s left rear and Aitken’s right rear wheel. Both drivers went sailing into the barriers, in which eventually Ghiotto’s car was set alight. Luckily, both drivers came out of the incident fine.

To no surprise, the race was red flagged and the damage to the barriers was too much for the time left so the race ended there. The regulations on red flags mean the classification was before the red flag was shown, meaning Ghiotto and Aitken were both included in the final results. And because there were only 7 laps of racing, half points were awarded.

Daruvala picks up a penalty during the red flag for gaining an advantage off track during the race, thus dropping him from 7th to 11th, promoting Ilott and Ticktum up to 7th and 8th respectively.

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

Before Formula 2 has a 2 month break, we’ll be releasing our Race Reviews on Wednesday, discussing our summaries, highlights and how well our predictions were. You can contribute to this post, just keep an eye out on our social media pages to see how you can be included!