F2 title battle opens up after Pourchaire win
By Mat Coch
Sunday 31st July, 2022 - 9:30pm
The FIA Formula 2 Championship battle has been cracked open after Theo Pourchaire took victory in the Feature race in Hungary.
The Frenchman won from Enzo Fittipaldi and Ayumu Iwasa as points leader Felipe Drugovich finished ninth, his advantage now just 21 points.
Marcus Armstrong seized the lead from the start, heading the field as Pourchaire went around the outside at Turn 1 to slot into second.
It was a disastrous start for Doohan, the Australian dropping from 10th on the grid to last and, eventually, retirement despite there being no obvious damage to the car.
Armstrong quickly built a 1.4 second advantage while Pourchaire had pole-sitter Iwasa for company in the battle for second.
They were soon joined by Drugovich, the championship leader pulling himself out of that squabble by pitting on Lap 8 to rejoin in clear air.
Iwasa was forced to stop next time by, his front-left tyre suffering heavy graining.
Armstrong and Pourchaire also took to the lane in an effort to cover off the undercut threat posed by Drugovich.
The early race leader fell to third as he was forced to wait once his stop was competed to feed out.
Strategically, the race diverged with those who started the race on the medium tyres remaining out on track.
That saw Frederik Vesti take over out front from Juri Vips, while Pourchaire began catching the back end of the field and working his way forward.
The Dane pitted on Lap 26 and promptly locked up into Turn 1 as he rejoined, and again at Turn 2 as he battled for tyre temperature.
It saw Liam Lawson promoted to the lead, the New Zealander in on Lap 28, completing the pit cycle and washing the field.
Pourchaire regained the lead on the road with Enzo Fittipaldi second and Iwasa third, early leader Armstrong having dropped to fourth.
With fresher, soft compound tyres, Vesti made short work of Drugovich to claim fifth at the end of Lap 31, the Brazilian promptly losing out to Vips soon after.
With three laps to go, Fittipaldi began to reel in Pourchaire, only to fall off dramatically on the final lap.
It left Pourchaire to claimed victory, Fittipaldi hanging on to finish second with Iwasa third.
Drugovich crossed the line ninth, the Brazilian maintaining the points lead though his advantage reduced to 21 points.
The Formula 2 Championship is back in action in support of the Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix on August 26-28.