MP Motorsport’s Dennis Hauger was dominant around the Hungaroring, securing his second race win of the 2023 Formula 2 season by 4.2 seconds. Ayumu Iwasa took important points in the title fight, claiming P2 for DAMS.
Oliver Bearman got a late lunge done on Théo Pourchaire to secure third for PREMA Racing, whilst the Frenchman slashed Frederik Vesti’s Championship lead down to a single point in fourth.
AS IT HAPPENED
Hauger gained the run he needed on the way to Turn 1 to take the inside line and lead away from Kush Maini. Iwasa surged around the outside of the Campos Racing driver at Turn 2 to take second from fifth on the grid, while Bearman was looming large in Maini’s mirrors for third. An opportunistic dive down the inside at Turn 6 gave the PREMA Racing driver the place, while Pourchaire squeezed his way past Jehan Daruvala for fifth just behind them.
Victor Martins also got in on the action, moving up to seventh from P9 on the grid, rounding Isack Hadjar at Turn 12 to end a busy opening lap.
Frederik Vesti tried to pass Hadjar at Turn 1 on Lap 2 but was forced to take to the runoff. It allowed Jack Doohan enough momentum to go around the outside of the Championship leader and take ninth from the Dane at Turn 2.
Maini was back through for third on Bearman at Turn 1 with a late-braking dive down the inside of the Briton to open Lap 3.
A DRS train from second down to 21st formed in the opening 10 laps as everyone looked to save tyre life for later in the race.
The formation running ended on Lap 12 after a lock-up by Clément Novalak into Turn 1 put the Trident driver on a collision course with Ralph Boschung. It left both drivers out of the running and brought out a brief Virtual Safety Car as the Swiss driver’s car was recovered.
Back underway on Lap 13, Pourchaire made the most of the opportunity and caught Bearman by surprise to take fourth. He passed the PREMA driver just as conditions went back to green, diving down the inside into Turn 2.
With 11 laps to go, Iwasa was given the all clear over team radio to push and the action ramped up once again as everyone upped the pace. The DAMS driver closed up to Hauger by eight tenths of a second on the following lap, with the gap at 1.9s entering the final 10 laps.
Vesti was the next to make a late lunge, overtaking Doohan at Turn 1 to catch the Invicta Virtuosi Racing man by surprise and seal ninth position.
With five laps to go, Pourchaire made the dive at Turn 1 on Maini having been glued to the rear wing of the Campos. Bearman was also on the attack, taking fourth position from the Indian driver at the next corner, going all the way around the outside.
Down to three laps remaining and this time Bearman was the one making the late dive to the inside at Turn 1, forcing his way through on Pourchaire to take third position from the Frenchman.
Entering the final lap and Maini went wide going onto the pit straight, allowing Daruvala a chance at fifth. At Turn 2, the MP Motorsport driver swept to the inside of Maini to take the position.
Teammate Hauger was untroubled at the front after responding to Iwasa’s increase in pace to take his second win of the 2023 season. The Japanese driver took the fastest lap on the way to P2, while teammate Bearman claimed third and kept his teammate ahead in the Standings after the late pass on Pourchaire.
Daruvala followed in fifth with Maini hanging onto sixth just ahead of Martins and Hadjar, who rounded out the points for Hitech Pulse-Eight, as Vesti finished just outside the top eight in ninth.
KEY QUOTE – Dennis Hauger, MP Motorsport
“Really happy to get the win. We had a decent start, managed to get up the inside and brake deep for Turn 1. After that it was all a game of management and pushing at the right time. But the pace was looking good and really happy to be back on the top step of the podium and I really enjoyed the race. We’ll hopefully do a good race tomorrow.”
THE CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
Vesti keeps hold of the lead by a single point ahead of Pourchaire, while Iwasa is just fifteen points shy of the Dane. The top three are now on 135, 134 and 120 points respectively. Oliver Bearman’s podium moves him clear in fourth, now on 94 points with Victor Martins completing the top five in the Drivers’ Championship on 90 points.
In the Teams’ Standings, PREMA Racing stay on top with 229 points while ART Grand Prix are in striking range with 224 points in second. DAMS remain third, now on 159 points.
The Formula 2 Feature Race gets underway at 10:05 local time. Jack Doohan starts from pole with Victor Martins alongside him. Title rivals Frederik Vesti and Théo Pourchaire share the second row.