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F2 ITALIAN GP: VESTI'S HIGHS AND LOWS IN THE TITLE CHASE



RACE 1: VESTI SHORTENS THE GAP ON POURCHAIRE

Desiring victory in the first F2 race at Monza, Frederik Vesti was determined to erase the poor performances of his weekend in Zandvoort and narrow the points gap with Theo Pourchaire in the overall standings. Despite an unimpressive qualifying session in Monza, where he secured the eighth position while the French driver clinched pole position, Vesti found his opportunity in the reversed grid of the first race, starting from the second row. Like a lightning bolt, he stormed past his competitors on the front row, Ralph Boschung and Richard Verschoor.


However, the Swiss driver from Campos Racing made an error at the Prima Variante by braking too late, allowing Vesti, who wisely slowed down to avoid contact, to overtake Boschung, who was positioned between him and Verschoor. From that point onwards, the young Danish driver from the Junior Mercedes team wasted no time, executing a daring overtaking maneuver on Verschoor. Despite two safety car periods during the race, Vesti maintained control and fended off the challenges from Victor Martins, who made a remarkable comeback from seventh place to second.


Thanks to this victory, his fifth of the season, Vesti reduced the points gap from Pourchaire from 12 to 9 in the championship standings, while the other drivers faced a tough challenge. Neither Ayumu Iwasa, who also had to make a pit stop, nor Jack Doohan managed to secure any points. Conversely, Victor Martins gained ground, moving up to the fourth position in the overall standings.


Regarding the race, in addition to Martins (of ART), Richard Verschoor maintained his third position, securing the third step of the podium with his Dallara from the Van Amersfoort team. Pourchaire, like Martins, displayed skill by climbing from the fifth row. He executed a bold overtaking maneuver at the first turn after the start and subsequently engaged in a long duel with Kush Maini, ultimately managing to secure the fourth position. These points were crucial for Pourchaire to maintain a comfortable lead over Vesti.


Other drivers who earned points included Oliver Bearman (Prema), finishing sixth, and Arthur Leclerc, who climbed from twelfth on the grid to seventh. The Trident team earned a point thanks to Roman Stanek, who finished eighth. On the other hand, Red Bull team drivers had a challenging day. As mentioned earlier, Iwasa finished outside the points, along with Isack Hadjar, Jak Crawford, and Enzo Fittipaldi. Zane Maloney had a difficult race, committing several errors. The two appearances of the safety car were triggered by Maloney's collision with Amaury Cordeel at the Roggia during the first lap and the contact between Roy Nissany and Juan Manuel Correa at the Roggia.


RACE 2: BEARMAN WINS BEAUTIFULLY, VESTI KO



The second Formula 2 race, known as the "Main Race," was an absolute chaos, marked by a series of errors and blatant misconduct by the drivers. Four safety cars were deployed, along with the addition of a virtual safety car that accompanied the surviving drivers to the finish line. Amidst this disorder, Oliver Bearman's performance stood out as he secured his fourth win of the season. The young British driver, a member of the Prema team and part of the Ferrari Driver Academy, quickly seized the lead by overtaking pole-sitter Theo Pourchaire.


Bearman's flawless performance, despite starting second on the grid, underscores his inherent talent, although it is evident that he needs to refine certain aspects of his driving style. With a second season in F2 on the horizon, following the advice of Marco Matassa, head of the Ferrari Driver Academy, could only benefit him.


This race marked the conclusion of the weekend at Monza, preceding the grand finale in Abu Dhabi, scheduled for December. The race had the potential to significantly impact the championship standings, and it did just that. Pourchaire, who finished third, maintains his lead in the standings, extending his advantage over Frederik Vesti to 25 points. Just yesterday, after Race 1, the Danish driver had reduced the gap to only nine points. So, what happened to the Prema driver?


Starting from the eighth position, Vesti quickly gained three places and attempted to overtake Roman Stanek at the exit of the Roggia chicane. However, the Czech driver from the Trident team forced Vesti onto the grass, resulting in a spin that sent him into the barriers. Stanek's move was overly aggressive, especially considering it was against a contender for the championship in the final stages of the season.


The recent races in 2023 haven't gone in Vesti's favor. He was involved in an incident on the formation lap in the Spa main race and retired in the Zandvoort main race after losing both rear tires following a pit stop. His victory in the Monza sprint race on Saturday had rekindled his hopes, but the incident with Stanek dealt a significant blow. Anything is still possible at Yas Marina, but recovering 25 points against Pourchaire won't be easy.


Pourchaire, from the ART team, mostly trailed behind Bearman and lost ground in the final stages of the race, ultimately getting passed by Ayumu Iwasa, who had started fifteenth. The Japanese driver from the DAMS team made an impressive comeback after a tire change, avoiding the complicated situations that unfolded. With his valuable second-place finish, Iwasa now has the opportunity to aim for second place in the overall standings and remains in contention for the championship. Enzo Fittipaldi secured a solid fourth place, while Dennis Hauger finished fifth after a comeback.


But let's return to the four safety cars. The first was necessary to recover Vesti's car and that of Clement Novalak, who ended up in the gravel at Lesmo.


Shortly after, Arthur Leclerc missed the Prima Variante but managed to avoid collisions with the drivers in front of him, ending up in the escape road.


The third safety car was deployed immediately after the restart of the previous situation when Roy Nissany rear-ended Zane Maloney on the straight leading to the pit lane, sending him into the wall. It was a dangerous incident, but Maloney emerged with only a slight limp. Nissany received a drive-through penalty, while Stanek was handed a 5-second penalty for his collision with Vesti.


The fourth safety car was called due to Kush Maini's off-track excursion, as he was forced onto the grass by Jak Crawford while heading towards the Roggia chicane. Crawford, in turn, ended up in the gravel with a damaged rear suspension, prompting the need for a virtual safety car a few laps later.



© Cavalieri Garage & Co.

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