F2: Calderon brings home a P13 in Austrian sprint race
Updated: Jul 2, 2019
After a difficult start, Tatiana Calderon drove a solid race and took advantage of a late Safety Car to finish 13th at the Red Bull Ring.
After an 18th place finish in yesterday's feature race, Tatiana Calderon lined up on the grid for this morning's second race on the penultimate row. Unfortunately, the BWT Arden #18 stalled on the grid on its way to the formation lap and Calderon was forced to take the race start from the pitlane.
As the lights went out, Deletraz had a good getaway but not enough to take the lead away from reverse grid polesitter Jordan King. With battles throughout the field, Zhou ran wide at turn 3 and Matsushita ended up in the gravel at turn 4. Championship leader De Vries was fast to go from 4th to 3rd, then immediately attacked Deletraz for second at turn 4.
He replicated the exact same move one lap later, when the ART GP driver cleared King and took the lead of the race.
Meanwhile, Calderon had to close a 7 seconds gap from 19th Maini, due to her pitlane start.
She moved up one place as Giuliano Alesi hit trouble once again, ran off in the gravel and then came back into the pitlane to retire.
On lap 5, coming off of turn 4 De Vries slowed down dramatically and was demoted to 6th, as he accidentally pressed the pit-limiter on his steering wheel.
This triggered a fierce battle for the lead, with Deletraz, King and Sette Camara going 3-wide in a breathtaking action.
Sette Camara, aided by DRS, took the lead away from Deletraz, with the Swiss driver unable to fight back. Mick Schumacher kept climbing up the standings, as he overtook Latifi for 9th.
It was a lonely first part of the race for Calderon, chasing the pack from a distance, but the second half of the competition marked a significant tyre wear for most of the drivers and the Colombian started to gain on her opposition.
On lap 12 Aitken and Hubert made contact, with Aitken running into the back of the Frenchman, who had made a very late move under braking trying to defend from the Campos at turn 4. Aitken ended up in the gravel and both drivers damaged their front wings.
Schumacher passed Hubert one lap later and was promoted to P7.
An exciting battle between King and Schumacher broke out, as the pair ran very close from turn 6 to turn 10. At the same time, Latifi attacked Hubert right behind, and the two UNI Virtuosi cars switched positions for the last step of the podium.
Yesterday winner Matsushita made his way past Hubert, now struggling with his front wing damage.
At the 19th lap a big shunt by Carlin's Deletraz forced the race direction to deploy the Safety Car: the Swiss driver went off and suffered a heavy impact at turn one, supposedly with brakes issues. Luckily, Deletraz walked away unharmed.
The Safety Car was good news for Calderon, as she was back into the mix and made a few positions when Mazepin, Tveter and Ilott pitted for new tyres.
At the restart, De Vries and Schumacher passed Zhou and Matsushita recovered nicely up to 5th. Ilott stormed his way through the field on new tyres up until P9.
Calderon passed Maini on lap 26 for P15.
Star of the day Mick Schumacher tried every possible line to make his way past Nyck De Vries and take his maiden F2 podium, but the Dutchman employed all his experience to hang on to his position.
Sergio Sette Camara crossed the line to take victory for DAMS, with Ghiotto a close second. De Vries took the last step of the podium from Schumacher, who completed a majestic drive from 18th to 4th. Matsushita was 5th; Latifi, King and Zhou took the ramaining points.
Calderon passed O'Ward in the very closing stages of the race and took a convincing P13. A solid end to a difficult weekend where she proved once again her pace on worn tyres.
"In the second race I stalled on the grid, and starting from the pitlane was not ideal. We did some changes in the car, I found a much better balance and I had really good pace." - commented Calderon. "Thanks to the safety car at the end I caught up the group and I could fight with a lot of people. That was positive and hopefully we can build on this good feeling going to Silverstone in two weeks’ time.”
F2 will be back on track in two weeks time in Silverstone, UK, where hopefully the BWT Arden lady will be able to tackle her first points of the season.
In Tatiana's words:
"Hopefully we can build on this good feeling going to Silverstone in two weeks’ time.”
Ph credits: F2 Media