Monza F2: Aitken holds off King to clinch sprint race victory

Monza F2: Aitken holds off King to clinch sprint race victory

Renault Formula 1 junior Jack Aitken took a third win of the Formula 2 season at Monza following an epic battle with Jordan King and Ferrari junior Callum Ilott.

MP Motorsport driver King shadowed Aitken until lap seven where he made his move at Turn 1, and defended at the Variante della Roggia where Aitken had to take to the kerbs to avoid incident.

But after a virtual safety car, Campos Racing’s Aitken got a great run on the main straight and retook the lead into Turn 1.

One lap later, Aitken went off into the run-off again at the Della Roggia chicane as King had taken the inside line and appeared to have the advantage.

Instead of conceding the place, Aitken held the lead at the exit as King had to run off at the second part of the chicane.

That allowed Sauber Junior Team driver Ilott to demote King from first to third in a matter of metres.

On the last lap, Ilott tried a last ditch attempt to divebomb Aitken, but a locked front-left tyre sent him onto the grass at Turn 1 which led to clipping the wall and a spin.

Having worn his tyre down to the carcass, Ilott suffered a puncture and trundled home in 12th.

Aitken was able to escape after Ilott’s issues, with King second.

King complained after the race that Aitken had been weaving around on the straights in order to break the tow, calling Aitken’s behaviour “dangerous”.

Championship leader Nyck de Vries had fallen back from the top three with four laps to go when he had a terrifying moment at Turn 1, having to take to the grass after locking up to avoid King.

Feature race winner Nobuharu Matsushita, took third on the road – almost passing King at the last after benefitting from de Vries’s error earlier on – but the Carlin driver’s VSC infringement handed the final podium placing back to de Vries.

Earlier in the race, ART Grand Prix’s de Vries had avoided an almost race ending incident. Luca Ghiotto had clipped de Vries’s right-rear wheel at Turn 1 in an optimistic move, which pushed de Vries into Sergio Sette Camara’s DAMS-run car.

The latter spun and had to retire, while Ghiotto pitted for a broken win and finished 15th and last.

Starting 17th after a three-place grid penalty, top F2 rookie Guan Yu Zhou delivered fourth after Matsushita’s penalty, narrowly heading off Ferrari Formula 1 junior and Prema racer Mick Schumacher who took sixth behind Matsushita.

Schumacher had started 14th after a technical issue while in the fight for the top six the day before.

Fellow Ferrari junior Giuliano Alesi raced bravely and took seventh, having been involved in a number of battles throughout the race.

Carlin’s second driver Louis Deletraz made some racy moves to recover to eighth having been taken out of the feature race, just 0.5s clear of ART driver Nikita Mazepin.

Championship contender Nicholas Latifi struggled throughout the race, and although he ran in the top eight early he then fell back and was passed at will – but ultimately rounded out the top 10 after Ilott sank down the order on the last lap.

Race result – 21 laps

Pos Driver Team Gap
1 Jack Aitken Campos Racing 34m26.288s
2 Jordan King MP Motorsport 2.764s
3 Nyck de Vries ART Grand Prix 6.530s
4 Guanyu Zhou UNI-Virtuosi 7.612s
5 Nobuharu Matsushita Carlin 8.188s
6 Mick Schumacher Prema Racing 8.541s
7 Giuliano Alesi Trident 12.851s
8 Louis Deletraz Carlin 13.389s
9 Nikita Mazepin ART Grand Prix 13.940s
10 Nicholas Latifi DAMS 23.091s
11 Marino Sato Campos Racing 29.563s
12 Callum Ilott Sauber Junior Team by Charouz 41.390s
13 Mahaveer Raghunathan MP Motorsport 52.478s
14 Tatiana Calderon BWT Arden 53.021s
15 Luca Ghiotto UNI-Virtuosi 1m32.691s
Sean Gelael Prema Racing Retirement
Sergio Sette Camara DAMS Retirement

Drivers’ championship

Pos Driver Points
1 Nyck de Vries 225
2 Nicholas Latifi 166
3 Luca Ghiotto 155
4 Jack Aitken 153
5 Sergio Sette Camara 151
6 Nobuharu Matsushita 116
7 Guanyu Zhou 115
8 Jordan King 79
9 Anthoine Hubert 77
10 Louis Deletraz 61
11 Mick Schumacher 51
12 Callum Ilott 44
13 Juan Manuel Correa 36
14 Dorian Boccolacci 30
15 Artem Markelov 16
16 Sean Gelael 13
17 Giuliano Alesi 9
18 Nikita Mazepin 6
19 Ralph Boschung 3
20 Mahaveer Raghunathan 1
21 Tatiana Calderon 0
22 Marino Sato 0
23 Arjun Maini 0
24 Patricio O’Ward 0
25 Ryan Tveter 0

Teams’ championship

Pos Team Points
1 DAMS 317
2 UNI-Virtuosi 270
3 ART Grand Prix 231
4 Campos Racing 183
5 Carlin 177
6 MP Motorsport 96
7 Sauber Junior Team by Charouz 80
8 BWT Arden 77
9 Prema Racing 64
10 Trident 12