F2 Monaco feature race: De Vries masters the principality

The resurgence of the McLaren-less Nyck De Vries continued among the yacht-webbed glamour of Monaco, and the Principality did more than play host to a Dutch siege. Nicholas Latifi encountered the first real bump of his F2 season, while Jack Aitken was force fed a Calpol bottle’s worth of bad luck, at the hands of Mahaveer Raghunathan.

MONTE CARLO, MONACO – MAY 24: Car of Callum Ilott (GBR, SAUBER JUNIOR TEAM BY CHAROUZ) being pushed the pit lane by marshals during the Monaco at Monte Carlo on May 24, 2019 in Monte Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Jerry Andre / LAT Images / FIA F2 Championship)

The race began with Callum Ilott stalling on the grid. Unable to re-start, he was sent to the back of grid – cruelly denied a chance at the win from second place. The gird took another formation lap, reducing the race length. On the second start attempt Mick Schumacher valiantly commenced a fightback from fifth after dropping back from third due to a wheelspin-riddled start. A move on Anthoine Hubert at the tricky Mirabeau corner was arguably the race’s finest.

Schumacher would be involved in another incident but this time for the wrong reasons. Latifi’s shot of bravery went wrong with his attempt to overtake into Loews corner, only to find Schumacher wasn’t planning on leaving the door open for him. Both were lucky to make it out of the incident relatively unscathed; no damage to Schumacher’s Prema while Latifi’s DAMS suffered a minor front wing break.

Schumacher may have been the innocent party in the Latifi incident, but not long after he would cause a much more severe accident of his own. Attempting to overtake Tatiana Calderon into Rascasse, the Ferrari academy driver, misjudging the admittedly wide apex, hit Calderon and leading to both cars stalling. The red flag was brought out as  the cars behind Calderon and  Schumacher had to park behind the pair, and confusion reigned supreme.

MONTE CARLO, MONACO – MAY 24: Anthoine Hubert (FRA, BWT ARDEN) and Sean Gelael (IDN,PREMA RACING) during the red flag during the Monaco at Monte Carlo on May 24, 2019 in Monte Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Glenn Dunbar / LAT Images / FIA F2 Championship)

Once the race resumed,  the cars that had pitted under red flag conditions were classed as being a lap down, much to the bemusement of the drivers and teams, while conduct under the red flag period itself was declared for investigation after the race. Schumacher was given both a five-second time penalty for cutting the track and a drive-through for the incident with Calderon.

Latifi, not deterred by the last time, went for a similar Loews corner lunge on Hubert, but while it was unsuccessful he was able to bail out of it without contact. Meanwhile, after earlier in the race where Aitken was held up to the tune of 20 seconds by the glacial Raghunathan, who had blocked him in qualifying the day before, the final blow was exacted when Raghunathan rammed the rear diffuser of Aitken and sent him into the Loews wall.

The final piece of action was left to Juan Manuel Correa, who binned his car at the swimming pool section to sprinkle flakes of carbon fibre on a Monaco feature race packed with action. And the one to enjoy a first slice? That was De Vries, who had been nothing short of masterful. Latifi might now just know the identity of his strongest challenger for the rest of the season.

Featured image courtesy of Jerry Andre / LAT Images / FIA F2 Championship

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