A force to be reckoned with all weekend, Logan Sargeant wrote his name into the Formula 2 history books with a Feature Race masterclass at Silverstone – controlling the pace and refusing to lose his cool despite coming under late pressure from Théo Pourchaire. Taking his first victory in the second tier, he also became the first-ever American driver to stand on the top step of the podium in the Championship’s history.
Pourchaire got his title fight back on track with second, as Liam Lawson gave Carlin another reason to celebrate, securing a double podium for the team on home soil. Felipe Drugovich got the better of Frederik Vesti on the last lap for fourth. Meanwhile, Jüri Vips made the alternative strategy work to take sixth, ahead of Jehan Daruvala.
Marcus Armstrong climbed up from 11th to eighth to secure two points-finishes for Hitech Grand Prix. Jack Doohan and Jake Hughes left their stop late to take the final points, as the Van Amersfoort Racing driver ended his home weekend in 10th.
AS IT HAPPENED
The first American on pole in Formula 2 history, Sargeant nailed a perfect getaway as the five red lights went out. However, his front row companion Vesti wasn’t so fortunate, spinning the rear wheels off the line and getting swallowed up by the pack. Meanwhile, his ART teammate Pourchaire would have been celebrating his start inside the cockpit, diving through the middle to leap up from fourth to second off the line.
There were changes up and down the top 10, as Lawson shot up into third from fifth, with fellow Red Bull junior Iwasa slotting up into fourth having started sixth. Drugovich lost out to drop down to fifth, as Armstrong hopped up into the points-scoring places in P9.
Their momentum was suddenly stopped on Lap 2, as contact between Dennis Hauger and Roy Nissany brought out the Safety Car. Going wide into the Club chicane, Nissany dived back on to the track and into the path of the PREMA. Cutting back, the DAMS driver tagged Hauger, launching the Norwegian driver over the kerbs and over the top of his car.
Four laps behind the Safety Car and it was down to Sargeant to lead the field off at the restart, as he pulled clear of Pourchaire. The fastest car out on track, the American attempted to build a gap ahead of his pit stop. At the back of the points, Novalak was a man on the mission. By Lap 6, the MP Motorsport driver had made up a whopping seven places and dispatched Daruvala for P10, who soon found himself dropping back behind Verschoor.
There was no time to waste for Vesti, Fittipaldi, Armstrong, Novalak and Bölükbasi, who peeled into the pits the moment their tyre change window opened, with Charouz executing the double stack stop to perfection.
This sent most of the frontrunners in a dash to the pits, with Lawson and Iwasa both heading in one lap later to swap out their red-walled soft tyres for the hard compound. Unfortunately for the DAMS driver, an issue with the left rear tyre dropped him behind Armstrong and Fittipaldi – as the New Zealander sold his Brazilian rival the dummy for P13.
Championship leader Drugovich’s fast in-lap allowed him to shoot back out of the pits and right on to the back of Pourchaire’s ART on Lap 13, as Sargeant continued to clock in purple laps to begin to close up to Williams for P6 on the road. The Trident driver had yet to stop as duelled with Sato for P5 and despite a mistake from the Virtuosi Racing driver, the Australian couldn’t quite find his way past.
Eyeing up their own pit stops out in front, alternative strategy runners Vips and Daruvala got ever closer to one another. The PREMA clocked in his personal best lap time to get right on the Hitech’s tail, who immediately boxed on Lap 23 for softs, as Daruvala assumed the lead.
Heading in one lap later, he managed to get out ahead of Vips, but the undercut served the Estonian driver well. The extra heat in his tyres allowed him to breeze past around the outside and up into ninth. Their stops promoted Doohan and Hughes into the top two positions momentarily, as the pair swiftly made their mandatory stops with five laps remaining.
As the race drew towards its conclusion, time was of the essence to make moves stick. Vips got the better of his Hitech teammate Armstrong for sixth, who then lost out to a reinvigorated Daruvala. The two rapidly capitalised on their fresher rubber to pull a five-car train for the final podium spot on the penultimate lap, as Lawson tried to keep Vesti and Drugovich at bay.
On the cusp of his maiden victory, Sargeant’s work wasn’t over yet on the penultimate lap. Pourchaire was breathing down his neck, as the ART had closed right within the one-second DRS window. Having been warned earlier in the race about tyre management, Sargeant expertly responded to the pressure and used the performance he’d saved to pull himself firmly out of the Frenchman’s clutches to claim an emotional win.
Pourchaire’s best efforts weren’t quite enough to secure the win, but the 18 points haul will be a welcome addition to his tally. Lawson held on to secure third for Carlin, ahead of Drugovich, who snatched fourth from Vesti at Stowe in the final seconds of the race. Vips finished sixth, ahead of Daruvala and Armstrong. Sprint Race winner Doohan was ninth, as Hughes closed out the points-finishers in 10th.
KEY QUOTE – Logan Sargeant, Carlin
“What a weekend for me and Carlin for that matter! First pole position, first Feature Race win – could be happier to be honest. The car was absolutely hooked up and just looking forward to hopefully doing this more regularly.”
THE CHAMPIONSHIP VIEW
Felipe Drugovich continues to stand well-clear at the top of the Drivers’ Championship on 148 points, although Théo Pourchaire has clawed back some ground in second. Victory sends Logan Sargeant into the hunt in third, eight points ahead of Daruvala. A podium finish moves Lawson up five places to fifth on 59 points.
In the Teams’ Championship, ART Grand Prix’s run of points finishes has allowed them to cut MP Motorsport’s advantage at the top of the standings to only 10 points – as 170 points play 160. Carlin skyrocket up from fifth to third on 147, as PREMA Racing fall to fourth. Hitech Grand Prix are in fifth on 118 points.
There’s no time relax for our 20 drivers, as Formula 2 heads to hills for Round 8 of the 2022 season. Spielberg’s Red Bull Ring plays host to all the action from July 8-10.