Silverstone [UK], July 17 (ANI): For the second time in as many rounds, Robert Shwartzman was the Sprint Race 1 winner in Formula 2. The Russian put in the hard yards at the start to jump from fourth to first, before going on to control the race at Silverstone.
Reverse polesitter Christian Lundgaard fell to third after a tricky start, watching on as both Shwartzman and Juri Vips clambered ahead of him when the lights went out. The trio crossed the line in that order, carefully navigating four Safety Cars.
"Last year was a bit of a tough one here, but this year we have finally managed to get the win, so a big thanks to the team. The start was awesome, I didn't expect to be P1 at Turn 1, but it was a really, really nice start. Juri (Vips) was very close, and he was very quick, but I managed to drive cleanly and not make any mistakes. We brought the win home, so a big thanks to everyone," said Schwartzman in an official release.
Finishing fourth, Felipe Drugovich took UNI-Virtuosi's only points of the morning after Guanyu Zhou spun out on Lap 1 -- a retirement that cost the Chinese driver the Championship lead, as Piastri followed up his pole lap in Qualifying with a sixth-place finish, behind Theo Pourchaire.
Shwartzman enjoyed a flying start from fourth, launching his PREMA into the lead at the first turn and battling off a challenge from Vips, who had gotten a strong getaway himself. The Hitech Grand Prix driver joined the Russian in pulling ahead of Lundgaard off the line, but exited Turn 1 in the same position he started.
However, Shwarztman was unable to build up a buffer as the Safety Car was called out to clear up a couple of early casualties in the top 10. Roy Nissany was the first of those, getting sandwiched and nudged off track.
The DAMS' driver got a good view of the second retirement as he was pulling to a stop on the gravel, with Zhou losing control of his Virtuosi and spinning 180 degrees.
The Safety Car returned on Lap 3 but was called back into action just moments later as Alessio Deledda went skidding off track, before eventually spinning to a stop back on it. Meanwhile, Liam Lawson was on team radio complaining of a lack of grip, with it perhaps showing that this was the first on-track action of the day around Silverstone.
The field got back to racing on Lap 7 and Piastri wasted no time in nabbing sixth from Lawson, making his fourth move of the morning. Dan Ticktum -- who had lost P7 to Piastri early on -- was also eying up the Hitech, although the Brit appeared to have slight damage on the nose of his Carlin.
Shwartzman and Vips were playing metaphorical chess at the front, with the Estonian beginning to eat into the PREMA's lead, but the Russian responded by setting the fastest lap of the race to clamber out of the DRS range.
Lundgaard was told to get a move on by his engineer, with the Dane having driven himself into contention with some strong race pace, but his pursuit was brought to a halt by another Safety Car as Guilherme Samaia stopped off track.
The top 10 remained in place when action restarted once more. Ticktum took a look down the side of Lawson but backed off when things got a bit tight after some gallant defensive work by the Hitech. (ANI)