F2: Calderon finishes French feature race in P11
Updated: Jun 23, 2019
Tatiana Calderon has finished a tough feature race in Le Castellet just outside the points scoring position.
Colombian Tatiana Calderon had a difficult start of the French weekend, spending most of the second part of practice session in the pits and then qualified 17th after a red-flag affected session, where the BWT Arden driver wasn't able to improve in her last attempt due to the many yellow flags in the closing minutes of the session.
In a sunny South of France afternoon, the feature race went underway with a slow getaway from Sette Camara, while De Vries went on the outside of the first corner and took the race lead. Gelael outbraked himself at turn 3 and dived on the inside, taking his Prema teammate Mick Schumacher out of the race. At the same time, Boschung and Mazepin collided in a separate incident, and Boccolacci stopped on track. The red flag was then deployed in order to allow the marshals to remove the several stranded cars.
Calderon had a clean start and brought her BWT Arden in 13th position.
When the race restarted behind the Safety Car, De Vries managed to pull a safe margin on Aitken and Calderon controlled Alesi who had started from the pitlane.
Jordan King passed Anthoine Hubert for P12, with the two Arden teammates lapping on similar lap times in traffic.
On lap 7 Alesi went past Calderon, while the leading drivers started to dive in the pitlane to complete their mandatory pitstop. Unlike previous F2 weekends, Arden didn't opted for the alternate strategy for the Colombian, who pitted on lap 8 for new prime tyres.
As Ghiotto moved up the order having sterted on the white-marked Pirellis, De Vries and Aitken had an exciting fight at the exit of the pitlane on the ninth lap, with the Dutchman having to surrender the first position only for half a lap, as he retook the lead with a bold move at the chicane.
Tatiana Calderon rejoined at the back of the field after her stop and had to manage tyre degradation for most of the second stint, paying a couple of seconds per lap to her competitors.
Ilott and Matsushita made contact at Le Beausset corner after a breathtaking battle; Ilott had the worst out of it, with his Charouz car stopping in the runoff area and triggering a Virtual Safety Car.
With the top 5 drivers still having to pit, Calderon chased MP Motorsport driver Raghunathan, who had gone for the alternate strategy and was clearly losing time to the Colombian.
Louis Deletraz slowed down on the main straight on lap 19, allowing Tatiana to gain 13th position.
Hubert pitted on lap 20, followed by race leader Luca Ghiotto. The Italian rejoined 4th, almost banging wheels with Latifi on the main straight, with the UNI Virtuosi driver staying ahead. But it was a temporary defense, as Ghiotto, who had flatspotted his tyres at the pit exit, soon started to struggle to keep his car on track and ultimately made contact with Correa and retired.
Calderon's pace started to be competitive again, as she well managed her Pirelli tyres degradation and moved up to P11 as Raghunathan finally made his pitstop on lap 23.
Sette Camara, experiencing radio communication issues, overtook Aitken for second around the outiside of turn 1, while Nyck De Vries had safely managed to open a 5 seconds gap on his closest rivals.
He also signed the fastest lap of the race on the last lap, took the chequered flag and turned 25 points into 27. He now leads the points standings.
Sette Camara took second and Campos driver Aitken was third. Zhou and Latifi completed the top 5, with Hubert converting 8th place into Sunday's race pole position. Alesi crossed the finish line in 10th, in front of Calderon, who completed the 30-laps race in 11th place, just outside the points scoring positions.
Even if this wasn't Calderon's best performance in terms of race pace, the French feature race represents so far her best FIA Formula 2 result. She will start tomorrow's sprint race from 11th on the grid and will try to tackle those first points.
Update: Following a post-race investigation, Tatiana Calderon has been found guilty of a Virtual Safety Car infringiment and has been handed a 10 seconds time penalty, which has ultimately not altered the final result.
Ph credits: F2 Media