McLaren’s Bortoleto Wins Austrian Feature Race as Team Orders Cause Controversy

McLaren’s Bortoleto Wins Austrian Feature Race as Team Orders Cause Controversy

BORTOLETOR

Gabriel Bortoleto takes his maiden FIA Formula 2 win in the Feature Race in Austria while Campos drivers argue over podium positions.

The drama started before the green light in Austria as three cars stalled before the formation lap, including pole-sitter, Dennis Hauger, along with Jak Crawford and Kush Maini. They would all start from the pit lane.

This promoted AIX Racing’s Josh Dürksen to first, ahead of Bortoleto. Behind them in third was Franco Colapinto, the first driver on the alternative strategy.

Bortoleto took the lead of the race on Lap 4 at Turn 4. Dürksen looked to be struggling after the first few laps and quickly came under pressure by Colapinto.

A difficult weekend for Zane Maloney continued. He pulled to the side of the track to retire his cap on Lap 7 with what looked to be a technical issue, bringing out the Virtual Safety Car. Once this was withdrawn, the pit stops begun.

Championship leader, Aron was the last of the front runners to pit , he extended his stint to Lap 10.

Pepe Martí was the big strategic winner. He pitted just before the VSC was called,  losing him less time for his mandatory stop and giving him the net race lead, 5 seconds ahead of Bortoleto.

Aron was given a 5 second time penalty for ‘changing direction multiple times’ while defending against championship rival, Isack Hadjar.

On Lap 20, Bortoleto closed the gap to net race leader, Martí to half a second before making the overtake at Turn 3.

Saturday’s Sprint Race winner, Ollie Bearman joined Maloney in the pit lane, retiring his PREMA with an engine issue on Lap 21, he was running a good race, looking set for points.

Hadjar came on the radio to his Campos team to say he was quicker than his team mate ahead. His pleas on the radio seemed to be ignored by Martí until a few laps later where Hadjar was released to catch Bortoleto for the win.

The stewards lodged an investigation into Martí’s pit stop at the beginning of the race. In F2, drivers cannot make their mandatory stop under the VSC, but if they get to the pits before it’s called, it’s allowed. They decided that this would be investigated after the race.

Colapinto eventually made his pit stop on Lap 33, he came out eighth with only Crawford left to come in.

Further up the road, the two Campos drivers continued to argue over second place after Martí gave Hadjar the position earlier on it the race. Hadjar said he would return the position if he couldn’t catch Bortoleto, but failed to do so.

A charging Colapinto caught the Campos pair quickly and made his way past both of them with relatively easy moves on his new tyres.

Bortoleto took his first win of his Formula 2 career, promoting him to third in the championship standings ahead of Maloney who retired from the Feature Race.

On the alternate strategy, Colapinto finished second ahead of Hadjar who kept the position over his team mate Martí following the team communicating that he was under investigation for the possible pit stop infringement.

Image: Formula Motorsport Limited

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