Carlin’s Jehan Daruvala put on a controlled performance in the second Sprint Race at Monza to claim his first victory of the season, ahead of Trident rookie Bent Viscaal and PREMA Racing’s Robert Shwartzman, who took his fourth podium of the year.
Given the chaos of the opener, the second Sprint Race was surprisingly peaceful, with Daruvala crossing the line 6.1s in front of Viscaal, who scored a maiden Formula 2 podium.
Shwartzman was a late entrant into the top three after reverse polesitter David Beckmann locked up late in the race and fell from second to fifth, behind Liam Lawson.
Championship rivals Oscar Piastri and Guanyu Zhou finished one behind the other in seventh and eighth, while Hitech Grand Prix’s Jüri Vips was ahead of them in sixth.
AS IT HAPPENED
Lining up from pole for the second race in succession, Beckmann endured an almost identical start, but this time it was the Carlin of Daruvala who got the jump on him, launching off the line and down the inside into Turn 1 to take first.
After a great getaway, Viscaal was up one place to third, ahead of Vips, but Sprint Race 1 hero Christian Lundgaard had been spun around and dumped at the back of the field.
There was a sense of déjà vu in the battle for seventh, as 2020 Formula 3 title rivals Théo Pourchaire and Piastri started to tussle. The Frenchman had already passed Zhou and was trying to muscle his way ahead of Piastri too, eventually making the move stick after several corners of toing and froing.
A Virtual Safety Car meant that Piastri was unable to reply, as HWA RACELAB teammates Jake Hughes and Alessio Deledda collided, leaving the Briton’s car stuck in the wall. Guilherme Samaia had also pulled his Charouz Racing System to a stop at the pit entrance.
After momentarily losing fifth to Lawson, Shwartzman recovered to not only reclaim P5 but to snatch fourth from Vips as well, who then fell a place further behind his Hitech teammate.
Piastri set the fastest lap on his way to regaining seventh from Pourchaire, with the ART wobbling ever-so-slightly wide and plunging into the clutches of Zhou, but the Virtuosi racer opted against an initial move and decided to remain patient.
Piastri was allowed to scamper off up the road as Pourchaire switched his attention to defending P8, but the Sprint Race 1 winner missed the chicane and had to go through the escape road, returning in ninth, out of the points.
Daruvala was looking untroubled out in front, but Beckmann and Viscaal were still battling for P2, six seconds further back. The Campos locked up at Turn 1 and had to take the escape road. Returning in third, he attempted to retake second but appeared to have re-joined the track unsafely, which the Stewards duly noted.
Viscaal brushed off the challenge and darted off into the distance, as first Shwartzman, and then Lawson, both jumped Beckmann and dropped him to fifth ahead of the chequered flag. Vips held onto sixth in front of Piastri and Zhou.
KEY QUOTE - JEHAN DARUVALA (CARLIN)
“I think that a win was long overdue this season, so I am very happy. This weekend has been good so far, I’ve been consistently quick. I think we deserved the win, hopefully, I can repeat it tomorrow.”
THE CHAMPIONSHIP VIEW
Piastri leads the Drivers’ title fight on 124 points, ahead of Zhou on 116 and Shwartzman on 105. Vips is fourth with 90 and Dan TIcktum is fifth with 89.
In the Teams’ title fight, PREMA are first with 229 points, in front of UNI-Virtuosi on 175 and Hitech on 162. Carlin are fourth with 160 and ART fifth with 120.
After securing a second successive pole on Friday afternoon, Piastri will look to extend his Championship lead in the Feature Race. The PREMA will line up ahead of Daruvala and Zhou when the action begins on Sunday at 10.25am (local time).