The UNI-Virtuosi FIA Formula 2 team kicked off the season in Austria with rapid pace
Callum Ilott taking victory in his first race with the squad as Guanyu Zhou also impressed
Zhou executed a fantastic strategy to set himself up at the front of the field, starting on pole and establishing a lead after the pitstops shook out.
But drama struck as a technical issue sent Renault Formula 1 test and development driver Zhou to the back of the field, completely out of his control. He proved his speed by setting the fastest lap but finished 17th having scored his second F2 pole position.
Meanwhile, Ilott - like Zhou, in his second year of FIA F2 - worked hard established himself behind his UNI-Virtuosi team-mate having started third, and when trouble hit for Zhou, Ilott pounced and took the lead.
After a late safety car, Ilott again proved the team’s pace by driving into a lead over eight seconds in majestic fashion, as his rivals squabbled behind, unable to match Ilott.
Ilott will start from eighth in tomorrow’s sprint race, while Zhou is set to start from 17th.
“It’s an absolutely brilliant feeling to win my first FIA F2 race. Zhou and I had some great battles at the start and I was maybe over pushing a little but we both still had great pace.
“It’s such a shame for Zhou, he was dominating the race up until his problem and it would have been a great finish to the race. A huge thank you to the team who have done such an amazing job so far this weekend, and probably deserved two drivers on the podium, but to come in and win my first race with them is a dream come true.“
“I knew coming into this season that I have got to do a good job, I have experience from last year and I’m with a great team who have really helped me get back into the rhythm since lockdown. Now I’m back in that rhythm, I feel like we’re set for some good results to come. The competition is really high this year but I’m confident we can keep them behind.”
©Dutch Photo Agency