Nyck de Vries takes his and Prema’s first victory of the season in another spectacular race at Paul Ricard.
While everyone else started his formation lap, yesterday’s race winner George Russell couldn’t as his engineers didn’t finish their work on his machinery. The Briton was brought back to the pits, from where he could start the race two laps later. Nirei Fukuzumi joined him in the pits as he stalled on the start of the formation lap.
Only 14 drivers started the race properly, when Jack Aitken spun and stalled on the last corner of the formation lap just and both MP drivers and Artem Markelov stalled their cars at the start.
This in addition to the fact that the championship leaders started from the back (Norris P16, Albon P18) raised hopes for a race full of overtakes and great racing.
Nicholas Latifi, who started from P2, took the lead away from Tadasuke Makino, ahead of Louis Delétraz, Nyck de Vries and Luca Ghiotto. The Japanese driver defended P5 against Antonio Fuoco. Championship leader Lando Norris gained several positions in the meanwhile and could be found in P9 after just three laps.
Delétraz increased the pressure on Latifi and overtook him on the inside of the chicane in lap 4. Just two laps later, the Canadian was passed on the same place by de Vries as well. This time, the Force India reserve driver tried to regain the position into turn 10 but de Vries just stayed ahead to catch up to race leader Delétraz.
In lap 7, Makino, who started on pole, finally had to give up at the beginning of the Mistral straight. The Honda protégé suffered the same mechanical issue as Alexander Albon did yesterday. The engine turned on the “safe mode”, which led to the retirement of the Russian Time driver.
Further down the order, Maximilian Günther had hard times fighting against other drivers: After losing P7 against Norris, Santino Ferrucci overtook the German as well. Albon tried to overtake him into turn 10, the Arden driver missed the breaking point, went off the track, which gave the Thai driver the position he wanted.
Latifi couldn’t show the pace required to take a podium position. Hence, Luca Ghiotto took the final place on the rostrum away from the Canadian.
In lap 13, de Vries reduced the gap to Delétraz to just 4 tenths of a second. The McLaren junior driver used DRS on the first part of the Mistral straight to overtake his Swiss rival. The Charouz driver stayed on the inside, but with a decent move on the outside, the Dutchman took the lead.
The race provided battles all over the grid: Fuoco had to give everything he got to keep both Carlins at bay. Sergio Sette Camara couldn’t clear the Italian for many laps, as a consequence, his teammate Norris came dangerously close and tried numerous manoeuvres on the Brazilian. After cutting the chicane first, Norris could complete a successful move some laps later. Sette Camara didn’t give up, both Carlins entered turn 10 side by side but in the end, Norris stayed in front.
Unexpectedly, Fuoco overtook Latifi as well with two laps to go. Norris followed the Italian, but when the Canadian aimed to take back his position, he destroyed his front wing a little bit, missed the corner and cut several corners to return in P8. As a result, he was almost unable to finish the lap with severe amount of damage.
In the end, de Vries secured the first win of the season for himself and his team, ahead of Deletraz and Ghiotto, who secured his second podium of the weekend. Fuoco, Norris (11 positions gained), Sette Camara, Albon (also 11 positions gained) and Latifi completed the top 8.
Several minutes after the race was over, a final team radio message was broadcasted. Arjun Maini, who had an intense battle with Roy Nissany and Maximilian Günther for half the race including time penalties, totally lost control of himself:
“I swear you guys don’t support me at all. I do everything, every [not clear], every [censored] session. You can’t do this to me, mate. [Not clear] why doesn’t anyone [not clear] believe me. I don’t race in this championship anymore, [censored] this!”
UPDATE: Camara was fined 600€ for exceeding the pit lane speed limit.
|1||Nyck de Vries||Prema||21 laps||15 + 2|
|6||Sergio Sette Camara||Carlin||+20.405||4|
|14||Artem Markelov||Russian Time||+1 lap|
|15||Roberto Merhi||MP Motorsport||+1 lap|
|16||Ralph Boschung||MP Motorsport||+1 lap|
|17||George Russell||ART||+2 laps|
|18||Sean Gelael||Prema||+2 laps|
|Ret||Tadasuke Makino||Russian Time||+15 laps|
*NOTE: Nissany was handed a five-second time penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage.
**NOTE: Günther had originally finished 11th, but was handed a five-second time penalty for causing a collision with Maini.
|16||Ralph Boschung||MP Motorsport||1:47.827||15|
Fastest lap points
|1||Nyck de Vries||Prema||1:48.996||13|
|1||Lando Norris||United Kingdom||104|
|2||George Russell||United Kingdom||91|
|3||Nyck de Vries||Netherlands||75|
|6||Sergio Sette Camara||Brazil||68|
|8||Jack Aitken||United Kingdom||49|
|18||Santino Ferrucci||United States||4|
|8||MP Motorsport||United Kingdom||33|