Rewind: Formula 2 Monza 2019
Heading into Monza this time last year, Dutchman Nyck De Vries was at the top of the championship with 200 points to his name. The ART driver enjoyed a commanding 34 point lead over Canadian Nicholas Latifi.
At the start of the weekend we had a short practice session, the drivers used this opportunity to familiarise themselves with the Monza circuit which is the fastest on the Formula 2 calendar.
Luca Ghiotto shot to the top of the timesheets at his home track. The Italian driver posted a 1:33.017 which was one tenth quicker than De Vries managed in second place.
Now, after practice things began to get serious as Formula 2 offers 4 points for Pole position in Qualifying.
It was a dramatic session as it always is in Formula 2. Championship contenders De Vries and Latifi were desperate to reign supreme in Qualifying but it was the Ferrari Academy driver Callum Ilott who grabbed pole.
Ilotts nearest challenger came in the form of Chinese driver Guanyu Zhou who set a time just a tenth shy of Ilotts effort.
On Saturday afternoon, Formula 1 qualifying had just finished and the anticipation rose for Formula 2 to take centre stage at Monza for the Feature Race.
Callum Ilott lined up on Pole position in the sole Sauber Junior team entry after his teammate Juan Manuel Correa was injured at the previous round in Spa. Championship hopeful De Vries was excluded from qualifying after a fuel infringement.
The Feature Race was typically dramatic with a good start from Callum Ilott. The British driver led the field into Turn 1 as Zhou hung onto second place. As the race progressed, Ilott and Japanese driver Nobuharu Matsushita began to duel for the win.
They showed epic pace but Luca Ghiotto who began the race on the alternate strategy was stunningly fast only for a slow pit stop to rob him of a chance at victory.
As it turned out, Nobuharu Matsushita took the win ahead of Luca Ghiotto and Nyck De Vries who came from last to third. Contrary to Callum Ilott who faded late on and ended up in fourth.
On Sunday the cars lined up for the Sprint Race where the top 8 from the Feature Race were reversed meaning Jack Aitken lined up on pole ahead of Giuliano Alesi.
Aitken led into the first Turn while Jordan King rocketed into second place. The two Brits were passing and repassing for the lead all race long echoing the mega slipstreaming we saw from F1 back in the 1970s.
In the end it was Jack Aitken who came out on top ahead of King in second and Matsushita in third. ART driver Nyck De Vries claimed fourth to extend his championship lead over Nicholas Latifi who scored no points at all in Italy.
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Written by: Luke-John Buckle
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* Image Credit: Formula Motorsport Limited