F2: Latifi takes third win of season in Barcelona

Nicholas Latifi's win in the Spanish Formula 2 Feature race has established the Canadian as an early favourite for the Drivers' title. Image sourced from racingline.hu

Nicolas Latifi extended his championship lead with victory in Saturday’s Formula 2 feature race in Barcelona.

The Canadian finished ahead of Jack Aitken and Guanyu Zhou, who claimed his first podium in the series.

It was Zhou who made the best start, scything past Latifi and pole-sitter Luca Ghiotto to take the lead into turn one.

Ghiotto’s nightmare start dropped him down to seventh, and the race looked to be over for the Italian shortly after.

Dorian Boccolacci misjudged his breaking into turn 10, forcing Ghiotto to pit, but thankfully both could continue.

Mick Schumacher and Giuliano Alesi were also caught up in separate incidents, with both spinning at turn four.

Schumacher was able to escape, albeit with a puncture, but the race was over for Alesi, bringing out the safety car.

Zhou and Latifi pitted shortly after the safety car came in, dropping both outside of the points.

Aitken took the race lead soon afterwards, using DRS to overtake Nyck de Vries on lap 7.

Many drivers waited until the latter stages to make their pit-stop, due to the soft tyre’s fragility.

Antoine Hubert and Ralph Boschung were two of those, with Hubert taking the lead from the Trident on lap 19.

The battle for the net race lead intensified behind, as Latifi began to reel in Zhou in the final stages.

Latifi learned from a failed attempt on lap 30 to pull off a fantastic move around the outside into turn one the next time around.

Zhou was struggling for grip at this point, allowing Aitken to make the move soon after for second position.

Issues for Schumacher and Juan Manuel Correa left both outside the points, and Correa’s afternoon ended after contact with the German at turn 4.

Latifi finished less than two seconds ahead of Aitken, who secured his third successive podium, with Zhou taking third.

Meanwhile, Luca Ghiotto had recovered superbly from his lap one damage, overtaking de Vries for fourth in the final stages.

Hubert and Jordan King made the alternate strategy work to take sixth and seventh places, with King securing the fastest lap.

Callum Ilott’s eighth place gave him sprint race pole, with Sean Gelael and Boschung completing the top 10.

Nicholas Latifi (centre right) holds his winners’ trophy alongside Jack Aitken (centre left) and Guan Yu Zhou (right). Image sourced from @FIA_F2 via Twitter.