Renault junior Guanyu Zhou was awarded his first Formula 2 win at Sochi, after the sprint race was ended early under the red flag following a heavy crash for Luca Ghiotto and Jack Aitken at Turn 3.
Zhou got a good start from reverse grid pole to hold the lead into the first corner, helped by Nikita Mazepin dropping back from second to third behind Aitken. Championship leader Mick Schumacher shot up from eighth on the grid, passing Jehan Daruvala through Turn 2 to get up into fourth.
Mazepin retook second from Aitken on lap 2, and a lap later Schumacher overtook the Campos for third. Aitken briefly lost fourth as well to Daruvala at the start of lap four, but he retook the place when Daruvala ran wide at Turn 2 and earned himself a time penalty for not rejoining the track correctly.
On lap 6 Ghiotto got past Daruvala and started reeling in Aitken for fourth. But on lap 7 the two made contact as they went wheel-to-wheel through Turn 3 and shot into the TecPro barriers. Both cars ended up between the layers of the barriers with Ghiotto’s car catching fire, but thankfully Aitken and Ghiotto were both unharmed.
The race was immediately red-flagged, and the extent of the repairs needed to fix the barriers meant there wasn’t time for it to resume. As a result Zhou was declared the winner, albeit with half points, with Mazepin second and Schumacher third.
Aitken and Ghiotto were able to take the points for fourth and fifth as per red flag rules the race result was counted back to lap 5. Tsunoda, Ilott and Ticktum took the final points, while Mazepin claimed the two bonus points for fastest lap.
Guilherme Samaia and HWA rookie Jake Hughes also retired from the race after making contact on lap one.
After Sochi, Schumacher’s championship lead has extended as he holds 191 points over Ilott’s 169. Schumacher’s Prema team also extends its lead over Ilott’s UNI-Virtuosi with 331 points to 288.5.
Formula 2 returns on 28th November for the first of the double header finale in Bahrain.
Full race result:
|1||Guanyu Zhou||UNI-Virtuosi Racing||7.5|
|2||Nikita Mazepin (FL)||Hitech Grand Prix||7|
|3||Mick Schumacher||Prema Racing||5|
|4||Jack Aitken||Campos Racing||4|
|5||Luca Ghiotto||Hitech Grand Prix||3|
|7||Callum Ilott||UNI-Virtuosi Racing||1|
|9||Pedro Piquet||Charouz Racing System|
|10||Robert Shwartzman||Prema Racing|
|12||Artem Markelov||BWT HWA Racelab|
|13||Christian Lundgaard||ART Grand Prix|
|14||Marcus Armstrong||ART Grand Prix|
|16||Giuliano Alesi||MP Motorsport|
|17||Louis Deletraz||Charouz Racing System|
|20||Felipe Drugovich||MP Motorsport|
|Ret.||Guilherme Samaia||Campos Racing|
|Ret.||Jake Hughes||BWT HWA Racelab|