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  • Writer's pictureRACERS

F2: Tatiana Calderon 16th in first Budapest race

Colombian Tatiana Calderon finished 16th the Formula 2 Hungarian feature race from last on the grid after a post-qualifying team penalty.

After a qualifying session affected by yesterday's heavy rain on the Hungaroring circuit, Calderon had qualified 18th but started today's feature race from last on the grid after a qualifying disqualification.

The BWT Arden duo were in fact both excluded from the qualifying results after it was found that both cars had failed to comply with the "tyre nomination information supplied", meaning that wet tyres allocated to one driver were used on the other car.

Saturday's weather conditions were however very different from Friday's and the drivers found themselves on the grid on slick tyres without prior practice data.

At the race start, Latifi, De Vries and Ghiotto all went side by side at turn one and it was Latifi to take the lead as De Vries went a bit wide into the first corner. Aitken had a great launch and gained two positions, while Hubert went up to P13 from 19th on the grid after the BWT Arden penalty. Tatiana Calderon moved past Raghunathan at turn two.

At the beginning of the 4th lap, Deletraz's Carlin was spotted raising a huge cloud of smoke and the Swiss driver was forced to take the escape route and retire his car for a technical failure.

Calderon moved past Maini, as the Colombian was faster than both the Indian and Mazepin in front of her. In the same lap, Hubert managed to find a way around Alesi for 12th place.

De Vries was the first driver to dive into the pitlane for the mandatory pitstop on lap 6, as Latifi started to pull away from the small group of leading drivers.

One lap later, most of the drivers in the top 10 pitted as well, leaving Latifi and Ghiotto on track still lapping competitively on worn option tyres.

Calderon pitted on lap 8 from 9th, while Maini visibly slowed down on the main straight with what looked like a similar technical issues to Deletraz's.

Schumacher, who started 4th and was looking forward to his maiden F2 podium, found himself fighting with Ghiotto after his stop, but Aitken jumped them both in the pitlane.

King, Hubert and Correa emerged on top of the classify, opting for the alternate strategy.

Poleman Nyck De Vries signed the fastest lap and closed in on Latifi, when the Canadian also found the traffic of the alternate strategies cars ahead. This allowed De Vries to erase all of the 5 seconds gap the DAMS driver had accumulated before the round of stops began.

When Latifi did manage to put Correa between him and his main rival for the victory and title, he started to breath again.

For most of the central part of the race, Calderon lapped consistently on the mid 1min35, half a second faster than Alesi ahead, but with a 6.2 seconds gap to close.

On lap 19, Maini stopped at turn 4, triggering the VSC: during the race neutralization, the Colombian girl lost more than 4 seconds to Alesi.

The race resumed three laps later, with Matsushita overtaking Schumacher for 7th right as the green flag was waved again.

King and Hubert still had to pit but their margin on third-placed and virtual race leader Latifi was now down to 7.6 seconds.

Gelael and Correa both pitted and rejoined P17 and P18 respectively, allowing Calderon to gain more positions.

Latifi passed Hubert for second on lap 24 and kept chasing down Jordan King. With 10 laps to go, both King and Hubert came back to the pits to switch to the softer compound.

Gelael moved past Tatiana for P14; the Indonesian also hit with a penalty for speeding in the pitlane. Sette Camara went around the outside of turn 1 to pass Schumacher for 7th.

Aitken, Ghiotto and Matsushita were all covered by few seconds, as the battle for the lower step of the podium fired up.

King and Hubert on new red-marked tyres were now significantly faster than the rest of the field and quickly closed in on the top 10, King making up position after position until P7.

Correa, also on new tyres, overtook Calderon for 15th place when the BWT Arden driver suffered a significant tyre-performance drop-off.

After a spectacular battle on lap 33 between Ghiotto and Matsushita, Sette Camara joined the action and claimed 5th. Behind him, King was on a charge and gained 6th, but his hunt for the top-5 was ruined by the Safety Car deployed when Ralph Boschung was forced to park is Trident with an engine failure.

With oil spilled all over the track section between turns 3 and 5, the race was thus ended under the Safety Car. Latifi took a convincing victory, cutting his points gap to De Vries to 28 in the championship standings.

The Dutchman finished second, ahead of Jack Aitken in third. Ghiotto and King were given a 5 seconds time penalty for overtaking under the Safety Car, demoting them to 6th and 7th. Schumacher crossed the finish line in eighth, claiming reverse grid pole for Sunday's race.

Tatiana Calderon finished P16 and will start tomorrow's sprint race from the 8th row.

Ph credits: F2 Media



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