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Race report

F2 Baku: Bearman clinches maiden win from ninth after chaotic sprint

Ollie Bearman led a Prema 1-2 to clinch his maiden Formula 2 victory, after a chaotic second safety car restart wiped out the top three in the Baku sprint race.

Oliver Bearman, PREMA Racing

Photo by: Formula Motorsport Ltd

The Ferrari Academy driver lined up ninth for Saturday’s sprint, having bagged pole for the feature race in qualifying on Friday, carving his way through the field and avoiding chaos to find himself fourth.

But the second safety car restart, caused by Roy Nissany crashing out of 11th at Turn 15 six laps from the end, saw leader Dennis Hauger, Victor Martins and Jehan Daruvala crash out.

Team-mate Frederik Vesti inherited the lead before he ran wide at Turn 4, allowing Bearman past before the safety car was deployed again which effectively marked the end of the race, with Jak Crawford completing the podium for Hitech.

Just half the field saw the chequered flag, with chaos from the very start as ART driver Martins made contact with Zane Maloney (Rodin Carlin) off the line, the pair having lined up second and third.

Poleman Richard Verschoor led the field into Turn 1 before making contact with the wall, exiting into the side of Maloney and giving him a rear-right puncture.

Hauger then took the lead for MP Motorsport, the 2022 Baku feature race winner having lined up sixth, ahead of reigning F3 champion Martins and Daruvala (MP Motorsport).

Vesti made it past Crawford for fourth on lap three as Bearman passed Enzo Fittipaldi for seventh at Turn 4, while further back 2022 championship runner-up Theo Pourchaire (ART) passed Campos driver Ralph Boschung for sixth at Turn 3. Moments later, Boschung stopped on track at the exit of Turn 11, prompting the first safety car.

Enzo Fittipaldi,Rodin Carlin

Enzo Fittipaldi, Rodin Carlin

Photo by: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Racing resumed on lap six, with Vesti closing in on Daruvala, before two laps later Bearman passed Pourchaire for sixth on the run down to Turn 1. He took another place the following lap, replicating his move on Pourchaire to snatch fifth from former team-mate Crawford.

Vesti finally made it past Daruvala on lap 10, securing the final podium spot at Turn 3, before Bearman followed him through on the straight for fourth.

The safety car was deployed again with six laps to go after Nissany’s crash, with Maloney finally retiring with terminal issues from his lap one crash having been running several laps behind the field.

Racing resumed two laps from the end, with chaos ensuing, as both Hauger and Martins clipped the wall at the exit of Turn 1. The pair remained firmly planted before Bearman nudged Daruvala into Martins, the Indian driver becoming wedged underneath Martins’ ART car.

Further back, Pourchaire also ran wide in an attempt to avoid the collision, making contact with DAMS’ Arthur Leclerc and ending both drivers’ races, while Jack Doohan (Virtuosi) spun on the restart.

As the Prema pair led, Bearman then passed his team-mate, before the safety car was again deployed and led the field back through the pitlane to see the chequered flag.

Kush Maini finished fourth for Campos, with Fittipaldi in fifth and Van Amersfoort Racing’s Juan Manuel Correa in sixth. Clement Novalak (Trident) and Hitech rookie Isack Hadjar rounded off the points-paying places.

Championship leader Ayumu Iwasa retired on lap 11 after his DRS had been stuck open.

F2 Baku - Sprint race results

Cla Driver Team Laps Gap
1 United Kingdom Oliver Bearman
Italy Prema Powerteam 21
2 Denmark Frederik Vesti
Italy Prema Powerteam 21 0.870
3 United States Jak Crawford
Hitech Pulse-Eight 21 3.090
4 India Kush Maini
Spain Campos Racing 21 6.485
5 Brazil Enzo Fittipaldi
Rodin Carlin 21 7.879
6 United States Juan Manuel Correa
Netherlands Van Amersfoort Racing 21 10.405
7 France Clement Novalak
Italy Trident 21 11.090
8 France Isack Hadjar
Hitech Pulse-Eight 21 13.602
9 Czech Republic Roman Staněk
Italy Trident 21 15.065
10 Belgium Amaury Cordeel
Invicta Virtuosi Racing 21 16.232

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