F2: Dominant Latifi wins Hungarian Feature Race

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Nicholas Latifi celebrates a well earned victory for DAMS in the Formula 2 Feature Race at the Hungaroring. Image sourced from @WilliamsRacing via Twitter.

DAMS’ Nicholas Latifi claimed victory in the Formula 2 Feature Race in Hungary after a late Safety Car halted a storming drive from MP’s Jordan King.

Latifi Forces His Way Through at the Start

 

After a tricky wet qualifying session, championship leader Nyck de Vries started from Pole Position, as he tried to bounce back from a lacklustre weekend at Silverstone.

The Dutchman was two tenths clear of Uni-Virtuosi’s Luca Ghiotto, with Nicholas Latifi in third and Mick Schumacher an impressive fourth for Prema.

When the lights went out, De Vries maintained his lead into Turn 1 as Latifi pulled alongside Ghiotto.

However, the Canadian locked up and ran wide, but managed to take the lead away from De Vries. Subsequently, Latifi immediately found himself on the back foot trying to defend from Ghiotto.

Elsewhere, Schumacher held onto fourth, while Campos’ Jack Aitken moved up to fifth from seventh on the grid.

Hubert Fights Back after Difficult Qualifying

A tyre mix up by BWT Arden meant that Anthoine Hubert started from the back of the grid. Image sourced from @AnthoineH via Twitter.

Anthoine Hubert was also on the move for BWT Arden, climbing from 18th to 13th place.

The Frenchman endured a tough qualifying, after he and teammate Tatiana Calderon were both disqualified after a tyre mix up.

On lap 4, De Vries remained within touching distance of Latifi, as the pair were separated by less than a second. Behind them, Ghiotto struggled with understeer and fell back by two seconds.

Louis Deletraz was the first retiree of the race, after his engine gave way in spectacular fashion on the exit of the final corner. As plumes of smoke spewed from the rear of his Carlin, Deletraz eventually pulled over at Turn 1.

Hubert continued his fightback by passing Giuliano Alesi for 11th position after his lunge down the inside of Turn 2.

King Goes Long as the Front Runners Pit

With the gap to Latifi at 3.5 seconds, De Vries pitted for his mandatory tyre change at the end of Lap 6. Now on the Medium compounds, he rejoined in a lowly 17th, but had the benefit of clear air.

Meanwhile, Jordan King was making great progress on his Mediums, as those on the Soft were now starting to struggle. The Briton was now up to seventh after overtaking both Sergio Sette Camara and Guanyu Zhou.

A lap later, Schumacher, Aitken and Callum Illot all made their stops, allowed De Vries to jump ahead of them. Additionally, a quicker stop for Aitken saw him get ahead of Schumacher when they returned to the track.

Back at the front, Latifi had incrased his lead over the frustrated Ghiotto to 5.7 seconds, with King in third. At the end of Lap 8, Latifi and Ghiotto both pitted, while King stayed out and inherited the lead.

On pit exit, Latifi retained his track position over De Vries, as Uni-Virtuosi double-stacked Ghiotto and Zhou during their respective stops. Despite this, Ghiotto continued to suffer as he fell behind Aitken, and came under serious pressure from Schumacher.

Maini Hits Trouble at Campos

Arjun Maini then suffered engine trouble as his car went down the start/finish line, but managed to carry on, albeit in 19th and last place.

King now led from Hubert, who also had yet to stop. This was the same for the trio of Juan-Manuel Correa, Sean Gelael and Ralph Boschung, who rounded up the top five places.

Onto lap 12, Ghiotto started to develop some rhythm and began to hassle Aitken over eighth, with Schumacher within striking distance behind.

Ahed of them, Latifi and De Vries had caught up to the back of Correa and Gelael as the four of them bunched up together.

Latifi then made two moves in quick succession, firstly overtaking Gelael into Turn 1 and then getting past Correa at Turn 2 to claim third.

De Vries also made his way past Gelael at the same corner, before diving manoeuvre on Correa into turn 12 gave the ART driver fourth place.

Virtual Safety Car Changes the Race

Still occupying the first two position, King and Hubert had to extended their stints with plans to stop around Lap 27 and switch onto the Soft tyre.

However, their plans took a hit when, Maini’s stricken Campos race came to a sudden stop at Turn 4 and brought out the Virtual Safety Car on Lap 18.

Four laps later, racing resumed and an alert Nobuharu Matsushita got the better of  Schumacher to snatch eighth place.

On Lap 24, Latifi was now right behind second-placed. As the pair made their way down to Turn 1, the DAMS driver comfortably went through and took second place.

 

With ten laps remaining, King and Hubert finally made their mandatory pit stops for the Softs. As a result, Latifi reclaimed the race lead, ahead of De Vries, Aitken, Ghiotto and Matsushita.

Struggling with tyre wear, Schumacher was left helpless to an attack from Camara. The Brazilian went around the outside of Turn 1 and moved into sixth place.

King Makes Up Lost Ground

MP Motorsport’s Jordan King put on a show in the latter stages of the Formula 2 Feature Race in Hungary. Image sourced from @42jordanking via Twitter.

Now with fresher tyres, King mirrored Camara at Turn 2, passing Illot to take eighth place. With six laps to go, Latifi held a comfortable seven second lead over title rival De Vries.

King’s late charge continued as he past Schumacher for seventh position with five laps remaining. Further back Hubert was also making progress, overtaking Russian Nikita Mazepin for 11th but looked unlikely to score any points.

On Lap 34 out of 37, Ghiotto defended well in a three-way battle with Matsushita and Camara over fourth place.

As Matsushita got stuck behind Ghiotto, Camara pounced and made his way into fifth place, while King closed up to them. The Briton was able to quickly dispose of Matsushita and move up to sixth place.

Safety Car Ends the Race Early

Then, Ralph Boschung’s engine blew up, with oil leaking from the rear of his Trident at Turns 4 and 5. This ended the race under the Safety Car and brought a halt to King’s storming drive.

As a result, Nicholas Latifi crossed the line to win for the fourth time this season. Nyck De Vries was second, with Jack Aitken rounding out the podium in third.

After the race, both Luca Ghiotto and Jordan King were handed penalties for speeding under the Virtual Safety Car.

However, these were overturned after the stewards deemed it would have been impossible to slow down safely, due to the oil on track.

Consequently, Ghiotto and King retained their fourth and fifth finishes, with Sergio Sette Camara, Nobuharu Matsushita, and Mick Schumacher completing the top eight.

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