Estonian Yuri Vips made a historic achievement on the Mujello track today, becoming the first motorist from the Baltic States to climb the podium in the FIA Formula 2 Championship.
In the first race, pole position winner Kristians Lundgārds from Denmark was in the lead of most of the races. Like most leading riders, Lundgārds got a harder tire after the pit stop, which does not allow him to complete the lap as fast as the soft Pirelli products.
The turning point was Giuliano Alezi’s sideline. A safety car went on the track. When the race resumed, drivers with fresh soft tires benefited. Lundgard held the lead over Giotto, while in the battle for third place, Tiktums and Cunoda clashed. Mick Schumacher, Guanju Zhou and Jack Eitkens did not divide the track in the back. Zhou’s hopes of victory were shattered by an alternative strategy.
As a result of the chaos, Nikita Mazepin took third place. He overtakes the riders ahead with soft tires and won from 16th place. The Hitech team won twice with Giotto in second place, but Lundgard fell to sixth in the final laps.
Dane revived on Sunday with a very convincing victory. From the third starting position “ART” the driver overtakes Markelov and Vip, accumulated a 2-second handicap in the first lap and continued to increase the lead during the whole race.
Estonian Vips dropped from second place to fourth place in the third stage of F2 with the “DAMS” team, also giving in to Louis Deletraz. Contact with Markelov allowed Schumacher to get involved in the fight, but Vips knew how to keep Mika behind him and later climb to third place, winning his first F2 pedestal. No Baltic driver has yet been able to finish in the top three in Formula 2 (GP2 or F3000) racing (Harald Schlelmelmilh finished fifth in GP2 Asia in 2008).
Schumacher finished fourth, holding Guanju Zhou behind. The Chinese race started from the 20th position. A thorough drama day after the double victory was organized by Hitech riders. In the fight for the fifth place, Nikita Mazepin was hit by Luke Giotto’s vehicle. The Italian withdrew immediately, but Mazepin took a pit stop, was penalized and left without points.
There are three more stages left this season, but the situation in the overall standings of the championship is still very tense. Despite missing the podium this weekend, Mick Schumacher took the lead (161 points). He is followed by Kaulms Ailots (153), Christian Lundgārds (145), Roberts Schwarzmans (140) and Nikita Mazepins (127).