Nyck de Vries scored a dominant Formula 2 victory at Spa-Francorchamps, while points leader George Russell headed main title rival Lando Norris.
McLaren Formula 1 junior de Vries only surrendered the lead in the pitstop phase, and despite a late safety car for Nirei Fukuzumi’s on-fire Arden-run car on lap 15 of 25, the Dutchman's win never looked in doubt.
Sergio Sette Camara passed Russell – who had heavy wheelspin at the start – at Turn 1 on lap one, although he couldn’t live with de Vries’ pace in the first stint, as the Prema driver extended his lead to over seven seconds.
After the safety car interruption, the green flag came out on lap 19 of 25, and de Vries remained comfortable ahead of Sette Camara as he secured victory by 3.1s
For Sette Camara's teammate Norris, the key to his race was a robust defence of his fourth place at the start, the Briton going into Les Combes three-wide with Luca Ghiotto and Alexander Albon, keeping the inside line and holding the spot.
Norris then got alongside third-placed Russell at the safety car restart late-on at Les Combes, but Russell defended well and checked out as a resurgent Alexander Albon came at Norris.
Third in the championship, Albon, had been as low as 14th but the safety car worked out in his favour and his car came alive in the closing laps.
On the final tour, he dive-bombed Norris, but ran into the run-off at Les Combes and his chance was gone, forcing him to settle for fifth.
Russell extends his championship lead to 15 points over Norris, with Albon and de Vries a further 20 and 26 points behind respectively.
Luca Ghiotto produced some brilliant defensive driving, but couldn’t hold off a charging Artem Markelov, who beat the Italian to the line on the last lap by less than a tenth in the fight for sixth.
Nicholas Latifi also ran the same strategy as Markelov, and took eighth, ahead of the second Arden of Maxi Gunther and Roy Nissany’s Campos-run car, the Israeli driver scoring his first point of the season.
Antonio Fuoco and Louis Deletraz, Charouz Racing teammates, crashed into each other and ultimately rounded out the order.
|1||4||Nyck de Vries||Prema Powerteam||25||56'02.281|
|2||18||Sergio Sette Camara||Carlin||25||56'05.434||3.153|
|3||8||George Russell||ART Grand Prix||25||56'09.853||7.572|
|6||1||Artem Markelov||RUSSIAN TIME||25||56'15.462||13.181|
|7||14||Luca Ghiotto||Campos Racing||25||56'15.492||13.211|
|9||11||Maximilian Gunther||Arden International||25||56'18.196||15.915|
|10||15||Roy Nissany||Campos Racing||25||56'24.635||22.354|
|11||7||Jack Aitken||ART Grand Prix||25||56'26.198||23.917|
|12||2||Tadasuke Makino||RUSSIAN TIME||25||56'26.758||24.477|
|15||9||Dorian Boccolacci||MP Motorsport||25||56'31.893||29.612|
|16||3||Sean Gelael||Prema Powerteam||25||56'34.763||32.482|
|17||21||Antonio Fuoco||Charouz Racing System||25||56'34.987||32.706|
|18||20||Louis Deletraz||Charouz Racing System||25||56'36.393||34.112|
|10||Ralph Boschung||MP Motorsport||18||41'55.881||7 Laps|
|12||Nirei Fukuzumi||Arden International||13||27'36.818||12 Laps|
Spa F2: De Vries takes dominant maiden pole
Spa F2: Latifi takes first win of 2018, Norris second