F2, Monaco, Sprint race: Dennis Hauger scores maiden F2 win
Drugovich remains the Championship leader on 88 points
PREMA Racing’s Dennis Hauger secured his first win in Formula 2 around the streets of Monte Carlo. The Norwegian capitalised on a stall by reverse pole-man Jake Hughes at lights out to assume the lead of the race and he never looked back. Jehan Daruvala made it a PREMA one-two, with Marcus Armstrong following closely behind to complete the podium.
Enzo Fittipaldi continued his great form, finishing the race fourth after fending off Jüri Vips for most of the 30 laps. Théo Pourchaire followed in sixth position, with Jack Doohan, Liam Lawson, Roy Nissany and Logan Sargeant completing the top 10.
AS IT HAPPENED
Reverse pole-sitter Hughes stalled off the line allowing Hauger a clean run into Saint Devote to take the lead. Daruvala followed closely ahead of Armstrong, Fittipaldi and Vips. Pourchaire was on the move, diving up the inside of Doohan to take sixth position from the Virtuosi Racing driver on the opening lap.
Felipe Drugovich meanwhile plummeted and was in the pits at the end of the opening lap having sustained a puncture and fallen to last place. He made a bold call to switch to the full wets, reporting that drops of rain were beginning to fall. Those spots remained fine as he fell to over a minute behind Hauger. The Championship leader pitted again on lap four for dry tyres, going a lap down in the process. To compound the MP Motorsport driver’s woes, he was handed a five-second penalty for speeding in the pit lane.
With DRS enabled, Hauger had moved 1.5s clear of Daruvala but there was queue was starting to form behind Fittipaldi in fourth. Vips, Pourchaire, Doohan and Liam Lawson were part of the train, but there was no way through on the Charouz Racing System driver.
The racing remained under green flag conditions until lap 10 when Clément Novalak hit the wall on the exit of La Rascasse. A dive up the inside by Ayumu Iwasa got him side-by-side with the Frenchman, leading to the MP Motorsport driver tagging the barriers on corner exit. It brought the Safety Car out as Novalak’s car was recovered. Iwasa was in at the end of the next lap for a new front wing, dropping him to 17th. The Japanese driver later received a 10-second time penalty for the incident.
The Safety Car was withdrawn on lap 13 and Hauger resumed his comfortable lead, gaining over a second on Daruvala during the first lap back racing. Hughes had got going after his stall at the start and was the fastest man on track at the halfway stage of the Sprint Race. Unfortunately for the Van Amersfoort Racing driver, he was 16s down on the next car up the road and circulating in 19th.
Having re-joined the race five laps down and on the wet tyres, Drugovich retired on lap 20. Meanwhile, PREMA Racing were enjoying a one-two heading into the final 10 laps, though Daruvala was being pressured by Armstrong for P2, with the Hitech Grand Prix driver on the brink of being within DRS range.
Down the order, Olli Caldwell had a lock-up into the Nouvelle Chicane and lightly tagged the back of Marino Sato’s Virtuosi car. Both avoided major damage and continued on in 15th and 16th respectively with five laps to go.
Up in front, nobody could get close to Hauger, who’d disappeared six seconds up the road by the chequered flag. Daruvala held onto second after late pressure from Armstrong. Fittipaldi likewise resisted the pressure from Vips behind to claim fourth while Pourchaire, Doohan - who claimed the fastest lap on the final tour - Lawson, Nissany and Sargeant kept it clean to each finish in the top 10.
KEY QUOTE – Dennis Hauger, PREMA Racing
"My first win in Formula 2, really happy with that. It was a good race, obviously Jake (Hughes) stalled, but from then on, I just tried to keep everything clean and keep up some good pace. Really happy with this win in Monaco. Hopefully we can fight for a bit more tomorrow as well."
THE CHAMPIONSHIP VIEW
Drugovich remains the Championship leader on 88 points, meanwhile, Pourchaire moves onto 63 points. Daruvala’s second-place finish keeps him third in the standings, while Armstrong demotes Lawson to fifth, moving onto 42 points versus the Carlin driver’s 38.
The Teams’ Standings is still lead by MP Motorsport on 110 points, with ART Grand Prix remaining in second now on 88. Behind both though, Hitech Grand Prix jump Carlin for third, now on 76 and 74 points respectively.
The Monte Carlo Feature Race will take place on Sunday with lights out at 09:50 local time.
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