Here's everything you need to know about the explosive tenth round of the 2020 Formula 2 Championship.
If you missed out on the last round of the F2 Championship (and the finale of the F3 Championship) or just want a recap, find everything you need to know about it here:
The finale of Formula 3 is here whilst the fight for the F2 title rages on.
Race I - Saturday
Mick Schumacher really lived up to his name in the Feature Race.
Tsunoda and Daruvala lined up on the front row of the grid for Carlin - the first time since 2019 and only the third time ever that there has been a front row lockout for a team in Formula 2. Mick Schumacher was poised just behind them in third. Everything looked ready for a fun Feature Race and it certainly didn't disappoint.
When the lights went out, Schumacher wasted no time in getting past Daruvala but couldn't quite make it past the second Carlin driver as they headed into turn two. Further back however, Vips was spun around and made contact with several other drivers, immediately ending both his race and Lungaard's. Drugovich and Nissany soon followed and four cars were out of of the race.
On lap three, racing got back underway with Illot beginning to close the gap down to Schumacher who was still in P2. Daruvala opened the pit stop window but a few laps later on lap 9, Tsunoda, Schumacher and Illot all managed to come out of their pit stops ahead of him. Out on track on the alternate strategy, Aitken, Zhou and Mazepin were all fighting each other hard, with Aitken in particular putting up a very strong fight again Zhou. There was some extremely close racing between the two that was awesome to watch.
Meanwhile, Schumacher managed to pull off an outstanding move on Tsunoda going into turn 2 with nine laps to go to move up into first place. One lap later, Illot managed to pull of a good overtake on Tsunoda going into turn 10 to take second place away from the Japanese driver. With the top two drivers in the Championship in first and second places in the race, Illot began to close up on his Championship rival with just two seconds between them.
But then, going into turn 3 on the final lap of the race, Tsunoda was able to make a mighty comeback and swept past Illot around the outside to reclaim second place. Ghitto was not far behind them and was eagerly looking to take third place away from Illot who had been unable to get any closer to Schumacher who was extending his lead out in front.
Schumacher then went onto comfortably win his second race of the year with Tsunoda coming home in second. Illot and Ghitto were racing to the line for third place with Illot just beating Ghitto to it by a tenth of a second for a photo finish.
The rest of the top ten came as follows: Daruvala, Aitken, Mazepin, Zhou, Armstrong and Ticktum.
Of those drivers, Aitken was the best of the rest in my opinion as he really got his elbows out to do some properly good racing throughout. Hopefully we get to see more of that from him in the near future. Schumacher meanwhile extends his Championship leads as his consistent performances all season long really begin to pay him back handsomely now.
Here's who impressed over the course of the exciting 2020 campaign.
Race II - Sunday
Photo Credit: Renault Media Centre.
Sunday's Sprint Race was a lot shorter than intended in the end due to a massive crash early on that red flagged the race permanently. But before all of that, there was some nice racing going on. Zhou and Mazepin lined up on the front row of the reverse grid with the former looking to clinch his first race win in Formula 2 and the latter desperately wanting to win at his home race.
When the lights went out, Zhou managed to get a brilliant race start with Aitken jumping Mazepin behind. Mick Schumacher also made an awesome start as he jumped up to fourth place from eighth as the drivers came out of turn two. Further back Samia rode the curbs a little too much coming out of turn two and got slightly airborne, crashing into Hughes as he landed and taking them both out of the race. A brief virtual safety car followed as the cars were removed from the track. No drivers were harmed in the making of this incident.
Illot and Tsunoda began to battle as the virtual safety car was removed with the Japanese driver getting past the British driver not long after. Schumacher then made another awesome overtake as he went past Aitken on lap four in the back twisty part of the track. Up ahead, Mazepin was within half a second of Zhou and was ready to make a fresh attempt on him to grab the lead.
But before anything else could happen, Aitken and Ghiotto had a massive crash on lap seven coming out of the long curving part of the track that is turn three. It was a massive shunt (see below) that immediately caused the race to be red flagged. Luckily, both Aitken and Ghiotto were able to get out of their cars and were unharmed - although they both had to go and visit the medical centre as a precaution. When it became clear that the damage caused by the incident was too severe to be fixed quickly, the race was called to an end and half points were awarded to the drivers.
Taken on countback from lap five, the final results for the Sprint Race for the top eight are as follows: Zhou (his first win in Formula 2!), Mazepin, Schumacher, Aitken, Ghiotto, Tsunoda, Illot and Ticktum.
It was a shame to see the race end so abruptly because it was all shaping up rather nicely for quite a juicy battle in the last fifteen laps but that's just the way the cookie crumbles sometimes. It was great to see Zhou finally win a race in Formula 2 though - he's easily one of the best drivers on the grid and is consistent in his great driving style so to see him finally on the top step of the podium was awesome.
In the final part, I look at the F2 drivers with potential for F1 but who in my opinion, need a bit more time elsewhere first.
The Driver and Constructor Standings following Sochi are as follows:
1. Mick Schumacher - 191 Points.
2. Callum Illot - 169 Points.
3. Yuki Tsunoda - 147 Points.
1. PREMA - 331 Points.
2. UNI-Virtuosi - 288.5 Points.
3. Hitech - 244 Points.
There is now a whopping two month break in the Formula 2 Calendar before we go racing again for the penultimate round of the 2020 Season in Bahrain. Keep an eye of the Formula 2 & Formula 3 Tribe Page though for lots more great content to keep you satisfied until then.
What did you think of the racing this weekend? Let me know in the comments below.