FORMULA 2 AND FORMULA 3 CHAMPIONS CROWNED WITH PIRELLI
Nyck de Vries clinched the Formula 2 title with one round to go, while Robert Shwartzman claimed the inaugural Formula 3 title at the final round in Russia. Both drivers took their titles on Saturday, with Shwartzman then presenting the Pirelli Pole Position Award to Ferrari Formula 1 driver Charles Leclerc. In Russia, the medium and supersoft tyres were supplied for Formula 2 while Formula 3 used the soft.
Feature Race, the winner: Nyck de Vries won the race and the title for ART Grand Prix, starting from pole on the supersoft and then switching to the medium. De Vries started ahead of his DAMS championship rival Nicholas Latifi, on the same strategy, and managed to stay in front of him on the track as well as during the pit stops. Third-placed finisher Louis Deletraz (Carlin) was also on a supersoft-medium strategy, with an excellent second stint to seal his podium on the final lap.
Nyck de Vries: “We knew in advance that the supersofts were going to be tough, so the virtual safety car kind of played a little bit into our hands, because it kind of gave us an extra lap, or shortened the stint by one lap. Nicholas was catching a bit on the in-lap, but it was just enough and I did a good out-lap. The pace was good. I kind of managed it and never asked too much. I was very much in control and that is how we want it.”
Feature Race, alternative strategy: Luca Ghiotto (Virtuosi) went for an alternative strategy, as he had done at the last round. He started on the medium tyre from fourth on the grid and ran it for 24 of the 28 laps, to lead the race and lap as quickly as those around him on newer tyres. He rejoined on the supersoft more than six seconds down on the leader and eventually finished fourth.
Sprint Race, the winner: Following a lengthy delay as the result of a first-lap accident, the race was shortened to 15 laps, with all the drivers using the soft tyre from start to finish in warm conditions. Ghiotto led from the re-start and successfully defended his place from de Vries to the finish.
Race 1, the winner: Prema’s championship leader Robert Shwartzman claimed the title with second place, having started from pole. His team mate Marcus Armstrong won the race, from third on the grid. Some rain and a safety car in the early stages complicated the action, with the wet tyre seen briefly as well – although the conditions didn’t really warrant it.
Race 2, the winner: Hitech GP driver Juri Vips claimed his third win of the year from reverse grid pole, but Armstrong and Shwartzman had to fight their way further through the field to complete the podium. In warm conditions, it was important to manage the soft tyre carefully throughout the 20 laps.
Pirelli’s head of F1 and car racing Mario Isola: “Congratulations to both our champions, who fully deserve their titles. We are very proud that Pirelli forms a part of their careers. We experienced mixed conditions throughout the weekend, so the drivers had to get the best out of the tyres under a variety of different circumstances on a relatively low-grip track, which is always a challenge. In the F2 feature race, there were some interesting strategies, with Ghiotto getting the maximum out of the medium compound as he tried something different to those around him. In the end, despite the divergence of strategies, the result was very close.”