Scoring not just a maiden Formula 2 victory, but also a first career win since the 2019 Macau Grand Prix, MP Motorsport rookie Richard Verschoor enjoyed a serene drive to victory in a sunny Sprint Race 2 at Silverstone, beating out experienced duo Marcus Armstrong and Dan Ticktum.
The Dutchman controlled the race from lights-to-flag, with the DAMS and Carlin drivers in tow. A late move on Liam Lawson earned Oscar Piastri fourth and further strengthened his Championship lead.
It wasn’t such a productive afternoon for his teammate, Robert Shwartzman. The Russian failed to follow up his Sprint Race 1 win with further points, spinning from ninth on the penultimate lap. While Guanyu Zhou lost further ground in the title fight, despite making up nine places to 11th.
AS IT HAPPENED
With track temperature increasing by more than 20 degrees since the morning’s Sprint Race 1, the grid lined up tentatively ahead of what was an unusually relaxed race start, with Verschoor pulling away from reverse grid pole entirely untroubled, followed by Armstrong.
After stalling on the formation lap, Christian Lundgaard was forced into a pitlane start, giving the ART Grand Prix driver plenty to do from the back of the order. Joining the Dane at the back was Zhou, lining up from last on the grid following his Sprint Race 1 retirement.
The action was brought to a halt at the end of the opening lap following a nasty collision between Ralph Boschung and Alessio Deledda. The Campos racer spun on track before being collected by the HWA RACELAB, with Zhou narrowly evading the stranded pair. Both clambered out unharmed, but a Safety Car was required to clear up the debris.
Verschoor aced the restart and continued out in front, with the only real movement in the top 10 coming from David Beckmann, who had waltzed up to eighth from a starting position of 13th.
The Safety Car was called back into action just two laps later after Jehan Daruvala lost control of his Carlin during a battle with Bent Viscaal. The Indian lost the rear and was unable to make the corner, taking both himself and the Trident into the gravel.
Viscaal’s race was run, but Daruvala managed to get going again and dove into the pits for a fix-up. Although, the Indian was slapped with a 10s-time penalty.
Verschoor aced the restart once again, with Armstrong and Ticktum following him in the provisional podium positions. From here, the MP Motorsport man began to build up a gap, leaving the DAMS and the Carlin the tussle for second.
Piastri was chasing down Lawson for fourth and attempted to DRS past the Hitech on the main straight, but the PREMA racer ran out of tarmac and was forced to back off. The new Championship leader refused to relent, though, and got the job done two laps later, with a late braking move into Brooklands.
Further back, Felipe Drugovich attempted to capitalise on a wide moment from Jüri Vips, who was up from ninth to sixth, but the Estonian stood firm and retained the spot with some strong defensive covering.
Just as the order appeared settled, there was a late spin from Sprint Race 1 winner Robert Shwartzman, who clipped the curb at the final corner of the penultimate lap and dropped from ninth to 15th.
Verschoor carried on at the front to cross the line with a 1.2s advantage over Armstrong, who beat Ticktum to second. Piastri retained fourth following his late move on Lawson, with Vips in sixth ahead of Drugovich and Beckmann.
KEY QUOTE – RICHARD VERSCHOOR (MP MOTORSPORT)
“I am incredibly happy to take my first win in Formula 2, I am really over the moon and want to thank the team a lot. I had a great start today and had great pace afterwards. Starting P3 tomorrow, I am really looking forward to it.”
THE CHAMPIONSHIP VIEW
Piastri has increased his lead at the top of the Drivers’ Championship to 93 points, 12 ahead of Shwartzman. Vips is up to third on 79 points, with Zhou one back in fourth and Ticktum fifth on 71.
In the Teams’ Championship, PREMA are first with 174, ahead of Hitech Grand Prix on 137 and UNI-Virtuosi on 129. Carlin are fourth with 124 and ART Grand Prix fifth with 89.
Piastri will look to further cement his position at the top of the standings when he starts from pole in the Feature Race on Sunday, while Zhou will be looking to claw back some points from second place. Action gets underway 10.50am local time.