Robert Shwartzman has fended off a hard-charging Yuki Tsunoda to clinch victory in a rain-soaked FIA Formula 2 feature race.
The ex-Toyota Racing Series duo led from the front for the majority of the race with pole-sitter Tsunoda leading the field until radio drama ten-laps from the finish meant he was unable to be told by his team to make his sole compulsory pitstop.
When the young Japanese racer eventually made it to pitlane he relinquished positions to both Shwartzman and Virtuosi’s Guanyu Zhou.
Having qualified sixth, Shwartzman seemed at ease with his Prema and was ahead of Tsunoda was able to establish a healthy margin.
Last year Tsunoda picked up his maiden win in changeable conditions and his wet weather pace allowed him to rapidly catch and pass Zhou and set after the race leader.
Tsunoda narrowed the gap to as low as 0.5s at some stages but couldn’t muster an overtake, allowing a jubilant Shwartzman to claim an emotional victory which he later dedicated to late father Mikhail.
Ferrari junior duo Mick Schumacher and Callum Illott rounded out the top 5.
Once again, a difficult qualifying meant Marcus Armstrong started 12th for the race, but the inclement weather failed to hinder the Kiwi’s progress who calmly charged his way to seventh at the line.
The result gives Armstrong a much-needed batch of championship points after his DNF in last weekend’s sprint race and puts him second on the grid in tomorrow’s final event.
The Kiwi now lies sixth in the championship standings after three rounds, in touching distance of leader Shwartzman.
A DNS for Artem Markelov after the Russian driver found himself in the gravel behind the safety car before the start was the only retirement in a surprisingly clean race given the treacherous conditions.
The final race of the weekend for the Formula 2 grid is scheduled for 9.10 pm NZT tonight.
|20||Guilherme Samaia||+1 lap|
|21||Giuliano Alesi||+1 lap|