He had to wait for the very final lap but when opportunity presented itself, Franco Colapinto made the absolute most of his chance. The MP Motorsport driver was in fine form around Imola, earning every bit of his Sprint Race win in a back-and-forth battle with Paul Aron, even if the pair swapped positions only twice all race, with those moves bookending an intriguing race.

Here is how the Williams Racing Academy talent fought his way onto the top step.


Aron was the man on the move at lights out, perfecting his launch from third on the grid and pointing his Hitech Pulse-Eight car directly between front row starter Colapinto and pole-sitting teammate, Amaury Cordeel.

With the greater traction, Aron was already clear of the Argentinian ahead of the curve that is Turn 1 and alongside Cordeel into the first chicane, edging out in front on the other side with the lead.

From there, the Hitech duo were in flying formation, with the early laps stunted by the Safety Car to clear up the debris stemming from the opening lap crashes.

Following the restart though, the fight for victory commenced.

After passing Arons teammate Colapinto set his sights on the lead of the race and closed down the gap
After passing Aron's teammate, Colapinto set his sights on the lead of the race and closed down the gap


Cordeel’s dip into the gravel at the penultimate corner came at the most inopportune of moments for him.

Entering the main straight at the end of Lap 6, Colapinto was well within touching distance, and so the lost momentum for the Belgian driver opened the door enough for the MP to come through.

At that point, Aron’s lead had just tipped over two seconds, leaving Colapinto with a sizeable gap to make up in the shorter Sprint event.

Around a venue he rates as one of his favourites and one he took victory in back in 2022 in just his second Formula 3 event, that was a challenge he accepted with enthusiasm.

READ MORE: SPRINT RACE: Colapinto produces final lap overtake to achieve maiden F2 victory in Imola


A string of laps told the story as the lead was gradually whittled down sector by sector. Onto Lap 8 and after trading fastest laps in Colapinto’s favour, the gap was down to 1.8s. One more lap and another exchanging of fastest times and the gap stood at 1.5s.

Aron was able to respond in this phase of the race though, as he answered with two laps to earn 0.2s back, though a 1:30.352 from Colapinto on Lap 12 wiped that out and then some to put the MP driver within DRS range for the first time in the race.

Another stellar lap by Colapinto, despite dealing with the turbulent wake from Aron, moved him closer still. His 14th lap was another 0.4s quicker than the race leader, and it put the Williams junior just 0.604s back from the lead.

However the progress stalled out for several laps and the gap was maintained between 0.7s and 1.017s between Laps 16 and 23 with both drivers hardly separated in their laptimes, and that appeared to be that.

Colapinto found the last bit of pace he needed at the perfect time to eventually take Sprint victory
Colapinto found the last bit of pace he needed at the perfect time to eventually take Sprint victory


But as things seemed settled, Colapinto applied the pressure for one final roll of the dice, cutting the gap down to 0.9s on Lap 22, and 0.8s on the following tour. This was enough for the race leader to feel the MP driver's presence entering the final two laps of the race.

Entering the 24th of 25 laps around the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Aron held a 0.836s advantage and was homing in on a maiden F2 race win to add to his list of podiums so far in 2024.

A hefty bounce over the first half of the Variante Alta chicane as Aron sought every tenth possible unsettled the car, but he appeared to have just enough in hand. The main straight and a DRS advantage was in all probability Colapinto’s last chance of a pass, and the Estonian knew it.

Trying to extract the best possible exit, a wobble under acceleration from Turn 18 was all it took for momentum to be handed to his pursuer.

A cleaner run onto the main straight put Colapinto onto the Hitech’s rear wing early enough down the straight that it forced Aron to meaningfully defend the inside line on the approach to Turn 2.

Side-by-side into the first chicane, Colapinto was more than far enough alongside to earn himself racing room, and Aron fought hard but fair, affording the Argentinian just enough room for the pair to make it through unscathed as the MP driver squeezed his way past for the lead and eventual win.

It was a painful result for Aron, who'd driven faultlessly up until that moment, but it was another podium in a stellar rookie campaign. He looks to be at his strongest for what’s to come.

Colapinto on the other hand was understandably jubilant, letting his team know over the radio just how satisfied he was with a stunning overtake in what was realistically the final overtaking spot around the track, and of the race.

A slow burner of a race on first look, but it was a back and forth fight between two rookies pushing to the very limit.