Marcus Armstrong’s disappointing Formula 2 outing at Silverstone continues as the Kiwi struggled to make any headway after a frustrating qualifying session left him 15th on the grid, losing one position to finish 16th in the feature race.
Up front and Hitech driver GP Nikita Mazepin put on an impressive performance to claim an emphatic maiden FIA Formula 2 race victory, leading home Guanyu Zhou by over five-seconds at the chequered flag.
Pole-sitter Felipe Drugovich made a sluggish getaway on his hard tyres, as Mick Schumacher shot into the lead from third on the grid in the Prema with Mazepin in tow.
The Russian then latched onto the rear of Schumacher as the field charged along the Hanger Straight before pulling off a wily overtake around the outside of his rival to Stowe to exert himself into the lead.
Mazepin would only relinquish the lead during the pitstop phases as both he and Schumacher pitted on Lap 8 to ditch their medium tyres.
Armstrong was having a troubled time getting his medium tyres to turn on, eventually swapping them for the more competitive hard tyres but by then any chance of a points finish seemed like an insurmountable task.
Drugovich and Zhou were one of only a handful of drivers to attempt the alternative strategy, the former pitting on Lap 19 while Zhou pushed until Lap 22 before making his one and only pitstop.
The extra three laps paid dividends as Zhou was able to emerge in relatively clean air, going on to hunt down ART driver Christian Lundgaard for second on the final lap.
Meanwhile, Drugovich had rejoined the race down in 12th and came across a profusion of slower traffic which hindered his charge through the field, eventually finishing in seventh. Fortunately, the MP Motorsport pilot retains a front row start in tomorrow’s reverse top-8 sprint race.
Lundgaard had a nightmare of a final two laps as he yielded positions to both Zhou and Yuki Tsunoda to finish off the rostrum in fourth, ahead of Callum Ilott who started from the pitlane in a heroic drive.
Hungarian Grand Prix race winner Louis Deletraz was sixth with Drugovich in seventh. D
Dab Ticktum would hold onto eighth, ahead of Schumacher who battle a late war against indecently fast tyre wear of his hard tyres to fall down the order and eventually finishing ninth. The sister Prema of Robert Shwartzman who round out the top 10.
Armstrong will be hoping he can unlock some much-needed race pace ahead of this evening’s final race around Silverstone which is set to get underway from 9.10 pm NZT.