Polesitter Dennis Hauger got off to a superb start but that wasn’t the case for Van Amersfoort driver Jake Hughes. The driver dropped a few places but fought his way back to P3. Richard Verschoor lost a place on lap two and dropped to tenth place. Shortly after, Amaury Cordeel, the other driver ahead of Van Amersfoort, crashed marking the first safety car of the day. After the car was removed, the field restarted, immediately it was hit again. Virtuoso driver Jack Doohan slammed into the rear of Logan Sargeant’s Carlin car a second after restarting. The accident immediately heralded a second neutralization.
Race control reported that the safety car would drive through the pits, followed shortly by the announcement that the pits would be closed, causing confusion. But even before Hauger reached the safety car, he dived into the pits to do the first job. However, the rest of the field stayed out and this ensured that Trident driver Calan Williams, teammate of Verschoor, took the lead. This put the Dutchman in P10.
Hauger was twelfth after his visit to the pits, after which he was told by the team that there was nothing they could do about the situation and he lost an eventual win. To make matters worse, the Norwegian Prema driver was also investigated and subsequently given a 10-second stop-and-go penalty.
The field was cleared again six laps before the end. After the restart in the first corner, Hughes immediately overtook the leader Williams and Liam Lawson also overtook the Williams junior. Verschoor fought his way past Boschung into eighth place. Williams eventually lost a podium spot to Juri Vips while Felipe Drugovich struggled from P10 to fifth. Lawson caught up with leader Hughes in a few laps and took first place. Shortly thereafter, Marcus Armstrong spun and brought the following car to a standstill. With another lap on the clock, the virtual safety car was activated and it came at just the right time for leader Lawson. In the end, the drivers were treated to another lap with Drugovich moving up to P4 and passing Vips Hughes at the finish, relegating the Van Amersfoort driver to third place. Lawson won the race ahead of Vips, Hughes, Drugovich, Williams and Verschoor.
TO UPDATE: Jake Hughes and Van Amersfoort Racing lost their podium after the race. The car failed the technical inspection: the plank under the car was too thin. This is likely caused by planing on the asphalt. Hughes was eliminated from the results, leaving the final podium spot in the hands of MP Motorsport driver Felipe Drugovich.
The second and final Formula 2 race in Saudi Arabia starts on Sunday afternoon at 3:55 p.m. Dutch time.