With the conclusion of the seventh round of the FIA Formula 2 Championship last weekend, we have officially reached the halfway point of the season. Join us as we unpack four major pieces of the action from Silverstone, where we witnessed two rookies grab their maiden victories in F2.
By Tyler Foster
Sargeant converts pole to victory
Carlin have been strong throughout the season so far, beginning with Liam Lawson’s run of three podiums in each of the first three races. But Lawson’s rookie teammate, American driver Logan Sargeant, has had a long journey to finding success in Formula 2.
Sargeant finished third in the FIA Formula 3 Championship in 2020, missing out on the title to Oscar Piastri by just four points. However, he wasn’t able to graduate to F2 in 2021 because of a lack of finances and had to remain in F3 for another season, Despite moving from Prema Racing to Charouz Racing System – a team with fewer resources – Sargeant finished seventh in 2021, with the highlight being a win in Sochi.
Moving up to F2 with Carlin for 2022 has been the move that has transformed Sargeant’s career. After scoring two podiums earlier this season in Barcelona and Baku, Sargeant performed well in Qualifying at Silverstone to grab his first pole since August 2020. Any pressure on the young American’s shoulders was not visible as he grabbed victory on Sunday with an error-free drive. This result has moved the rookie up to third in the championship in what is turning out to be an impressive season.
Stalemate in the championship
After the first three rounds, it looked as if the championship battle would boil down to leader Felipe Drugovich versus the rest, with ART Grand Prix’s French wunderkind Théo Pourchaire proving his biggest rival. At the midpoint of the season, Drugovich’s lead over Pourchaire is 42 points, with Pourchaire reducing the Brazilian’s advantage by seven points over the Silverstone weekend.
Drugovich qualified one place ahead of Pourchaire, meaning the pair lined up on the same row for both the Sprint Race and the Feature Race. The French teenager managed to get ahead of Drugovich in the Sprint Race and finished one place above him in fourth.
In the Feature Race, Pourchaire got a rapid getaway off the line and launched straight up to second, the position in which he finished. Meanwhile, Drugovich had an eventful race, fighting back after a poor start and eventually finishing fourth thanks to a last-lap pass on Pourchaire’s teammate Frederik Vesti. There is still a long way to go, but Drugovich remains the favourite with a sizeable lead.
Doohan finally gets his win
Being the son of a motorsport legend always places greater pressure upon you, especially when your father is Mick Doohan. Regardless, Jack Doohan’s surname is not the only reason he’s a rising star. The 19-year-old Australian has shown his natural talent as a rookie in Formula 2 this year after finishing as vice-champion in last season’s Formula 3 campaign.
Grabbing pole in your first race as a rookie in a series is always impressive, especially in Formula 2, and that’s exactly what Doohan did at Round 1 in Bahrain. Doohan went on to manage a second pole position in the fourth round in Barcelona. However, the Australian has struggled to convert his impressive qualifying positions into points in the race.
After qualifying seventh on Friday, Doohan started fourth for the Sprint Race. He passed Jüri Vips, Jehan Daruvala and Enzo Fittipaldi on successive laps in damp conditions and stretched out a gap over them in the latter half of the race. Though Ayumu Iwasa in second closed to nine-tenths behind Doohan, the Virtuosi driver held on, finally taking that long-awaited maiden victory in F2.
Doohan didn’t quite deliver the same performance on Sunday after a slow start dropped him down to 12th, but he improved to finish ninth while running long on his first stint. Most crucially, the win was a weight lifted off Doohan’s shoulders. The Alpine Academy driver now sits eighth in the championship with 57 points, just two points off of fifth place.
The halo saves another life
Hearts sank on the first lap of the Feature Race as Dennis Hauger flew into the path of Roy Nissany after running over a sausage kerb at the Vale chicane. Nissany had run wide at Stowe, and upon returning to the racing surface on the run up to Vale, he touched Hauger, who went into the grass.
As Hauger hit the kerb and went airborne, the right side of his errant Prema struck the halo device around the cockpit of the DAMS, just missing Nissany’s helmet. Despite the severity of the impact, both drivers escaped the accident uninjured. The halo undoubtedly spared Nissany from death or serious injury.
Though it is sometimes underappreciated in motorsport, the halo has constantly proven its worth, protecting the driver’s head in accidents that might otherwise be fatal. Sunday’s crash showed us exactly why it’s needed and why the push for safety in open-wheel racing is of paramount importance.
Header photo credit: Dutch Photo Agency / Red Bull Content Pool
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