For the second time in as many rounds, Robert Shwartzman was the Sprint Race 1 winner in Formula 2. The Russian put in the hard yards at the start to jump from fourth to first, before going on to control the race at Silverstone.
Reverse polesitter Christian Lundgaard fell to third after a tricky start, watching on as both Shwartzman and Jüri Vips clambered ahead of him when the lights went out. The trio crossed the line in that order, carefully navigating four Safety Cars.
Finishing fourth, Felipe Drugovich took UNI-Virtuosi’s only points of the morning after Guanyu Zhou spun out on Lap 1 – a retirement that cost the Chinese driver the Championship lead. Piastri moves to first in the standings after he followed up his pole lap in Qualifying with a sixth-place finish, behind Théo Pourchaire.
AS IT HAPPENED
Shwartzman enjoyed a flying start from fourth, launching his PREMA into the lead at the first turn and battling off a challenge from Vips, who had gotten a strong getaway himself. The Hitech Grand Prix driver joined the Russian in pulling ahead of Lundgaard off the line, but exited Turn 1 in the same position he started.
However, Shwarztman was unable to build up a buffer as the Safety Car was called out to clear up a couple of early casualties in the top 10. Roy Nissany was the first of those, getting sandwiched and nudged off track.
The DAMS’ driver got a good view of the second retirement as he was pulling to a stop on the gravel, with Zhou losing control of his Virtuosi and spinning 180 degrees.
The Safety Car returned on Lap 3 but was called back into action just moments later as Alessio Deledda went skidding off track, before eventually spinning to a stop back on it. Meanwhile, Liam Lawson was on team radio complaining of a lack of grip, with it perhaps showing that this was the first on-track action of the day around Silverstone.
The field got back to racing on Lap 7 and Piastri wasted no time in nabbing sixth from Lawson, making his fourth move of the morning. Dan Ticktum – who had lost P7 to Piastri early on - was also eying up the Hitech, although the Brit appeared to have slight damage on the nose of his Carlin.
Shwartzman and Vips were playing metaphorical chess at the front, with the Estonian beginning to eat into the PREMA’s lead, but the Russian responded by setting the fastest lap of the race to clamber out of DRS range.
Lundgaard was told to get a move on by his engineer, with the Dane having driven himself into contention with some strong race pace, but his pursuit was brought to a halt by another Safety Car as Guilherme Samaia stopped off track.
The top 10 remained in place when action restarted once more. Ticktum took a look down the side of Lawson but backed off when things got a bit tight after some gallant defensive work by the Hitech.
Verschoor made up three places in three laps to put himself on reverse grid pole for the second Sprint Race, dispatching of David Beckman, Jehan Daruvala and his MP Motorsport teammate Lirim Zendeli for P10. Marcus Armstrong would prove an overtake too far in ninth.
Vips ran out of road in his chase of Shwartzman, with the Estonian crossing the line in second, behind Shwartzman. Lundgaard held onto third with Drugovich in fourth and Pourchaire finishing where he started in fifth. Piastri, Lawson and Ticktum also all retained their places at the flag.
KEY QUOTE – ROBERT SHWARTZMAN (PREMA RACING)
“Last year was a bit of a tough one here, but this year we have finally managed to get the win, so a big thanks to the team.
“The start was awesome, I didn’t expect to be P1 at Turn 1, but it was a really, really nice start. Jüri (Vips) was very close, and he was very quick, but I managed to drive cleanly and not make any mistakes. We brought the win home, so a big thanks to everyone.”
THE CHAMPIONSHIP VIEW
Piastri takes the Championship lead for the first time this season, with 83 points, two ahead of his PREMA teammate Shwartzman. The Russian has jumped to second, with Zhou dropping to third, stuck on 78. Vips is in fourth with 75 and Ticktum is fifth with 61.
In the Teams’ Championship, PREMA are first with 164 points. Hitech and UNI-Virtuosi are tied in second with 127 points, although the former are ahead on countback. Carlin are fourth with 114 and ART fifth with 89.
MP Motorsport’s Zendeli will start from pole on the reversed grid in Sprint Race 2 at 2.45pm local time, with Armstrong joining him on the front row.