Martins Takes Maiden F2 Feature Win at Silverstone

Martins Takes Maiden F2 Feature Win at Silverstone

MartinsMartins takes maiden F2 win despite penalty in thrilling Silverstone Feature Race

Reigning FIA Formula 3 champion Victor Martins took his maiden FIA Formula 2 victory in the Feature Race at Round 9 of the 2023 season, despite a five-second time penalty.

Starting from his third pole position of the year, the Frenchman initially lost the lead to Ayumu Iwasa, before regaining it at Turn 3, but did so by leaving the track and gaining an advantage.

After three safety car interventions, Martins was under pressure to extend the gap over Rodin Carlin’s Zane Maloney in the final 10 laps.

The 22-year-old praised the communication from his team after his win: “I knew I had great pace. My engineer kept me calm. The car was amazing.”

Martins’ ART teammate Théo Pourchaire finished third, as he did in Saturday’s Sprint Race, closing the gap on championship leader Frederik Vesti, who failed to finish.

ART also close the gap to PREMA at the top of the Teams Standings, after the Italian team had a poor Sunday, with Vesti’s DNF and Oliver Bearman only sixth.

Trio of safety cars spice up Silverstone race

The action was instant as the lights went out, as front row pair Martins and Kush Maini saw DAMS’ Iwasa sweep by into Abbey corner from third.

But Martins battled the Japanese driver and snatched the lead back, also needing to cut off Bearman on the exit of Turn 4, who had also leaped forward from fifth on the grid.

And once in the lead, the Alpine Academy Driver displayed a rapid pace, extending a four-second lead in just five laps.

The punishing nature of the Silverstone circuit meant drivers who started on the soft Pirelli tyre were in on Lap 6, the earliest opportunity for a mandatory pit stop.

Sprint Race winner Vesti and Rodin Carlin’s Enzo Fittipaldi were the first in, but their chances of moving forward were scuppered by the first of three safety cars.

Invicta Virtuosi’s Amaury Cordeel spun at Stowe corner, which allowed all the front runners, including Martins to stop – but the Frenchman had yet to be given his penalty, which enabled him to re-join in the net race lead.

Vesti, who had fallen way down the order, was about to see his day ruined at the restart, as MP Motorsport’s Dennis Hauger hit the Danish driver from behind, which sent the PREMA into Trident’s Roman Stanek – meaning another safety car was needed to clear the stranded Trident.

After a pit stop for front wing repairs, championship leader Vesti stopped on track with a broken front left suspension, extending the safety car period.

After a handful of racing laps, which saw Oliver Bearman fall down the order, the British driver was very close to the cause of the third safety car, when Campos pair Kush Maini and Ralph Boschung collided at Vale corner.

It was at this point Martins was informed of his time penalty, which he said was a “difficult moment.”

With Maloney and Pourchaire behind, Martins’ immediate threat was Arthur Leclerc, who ran the alternate strategy and was on soft tyres in the final stages.

But Martins took off – extending the required five-second lead over Maloney, who held off Leclerc’s charge – which quickly faded with his tyres – eventually winning by seven seconds on the road, a two-second margin once the penalty was applied.

Championship gap closes as Pourchaire settles for third

As Vesti had a day to forget, after dominating the Sprint Race on Saturday, Pourchaire had a great chance to close the 21-point gap at the top of the standings.

But with Leclerc’s short charge on the softs, during which the Sauber Junior driver fell to fourth, Martins escaped out of reach, despite the penalty, as did Red Bull Junior Maloney.

Pourchaire took his time getting past the Monegasque driver in the DAMS car, no doubt aware that Vesti had been eliminated and big points were needed, getting by with a few laps to go.

A pair of third places has brought the gap down to six points, with Iwasa 24 back from Vesti in third.

And the massive haul of points for ART has cut PREMA’s lead to 10 in the Teams table.

Round 10 of the 2023 FIA Formula 2 season takes place at the Hungaroring in Budapest, Hungary from 21st-23rd July.

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MartinsMartins takes maiden F2 win despite penalty in thrilling Silverstone Feature Race