Jüri Vips secured pole position for the Formula 2 feature race at Imola on Friday evening, the class’s first visit to the circuit since 2006 – when Formula 2 was still known as the GP2 series. However, for Saturday’s sprint race, the top ten on the grid will be swapped, giving Logan Sargeant the best grid position for the 25-lap race at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari.
Carlin’s American couldn’t enjoy the lead for long, however, as he dropped to fifth at the start. Marcus Armstrong took advantage and immediately took the lead, followed by Jehan Daruvala, his Prema teammate Dennis Hauger and Roy Nissany. They were then unable to attack each other for several laps because David Beckmann spun and caused a safety car. Clement Novalak was also a victim because he couldn’t avoid the Charouz car and had to get a new front wing in the pits.
In the fifth lap the field was sent out again and Armstrong didn’t need to be told twice. The New Zealander immediately put a gap on Daruvala and Hauger, who then started fighting each other. As a result, the leading Hitech driver was able to gain a lead of around one and a half seconds. After shaking off his teammate in the battle for P2, Daruvala was able to start closing the gap on Armstrong. This process was interrupted on the tenth lap by a virtual safety car because Ralph Boschung stopped and became a knight on foot.
A lap later, full throttle was restored and Daruvala gradually closed in on Armstrong until, on lap 14, the gap was just half a second. There was no real attack and a little later the leader managed to get the Prema car back out of the DRS distance. Armstrong would maintain that to the end, allowing him to take his second Formula 2 win at Imola. Daruvala was second with 1.4 seconds, closely followed by Hauger. The reigning Formula 3 champion thus clinched his first F2 podium.
Nissany kept up the pace of the leaders throughout the race on his way to fourth place, while championship leader Felipe Drugovich overtook Sargeant for fifth on the penultimate lap. Theo Pourchaire ran a fairly invisible race towards seventh place while Liam Lawson took the final point in eighth. Richard Verschoor had to start from the back after failing to qualify and was unable to score any points on the narrow Italian circuit. In the end, thirteenth place went to the Dutchman from Trident.
The Formula 2 drivers will compete again in Imola on Sunday. The main race starts at 10.20am, which means Vips can start from pole position.