Callum Ilott scored his second feature race victory of the FIA Formula 2 season from pole position at Silverstone, taking the lead of the championship and extending UNI-Virtuosi Racing’s gap at the top of the teams’ standings.
After Ilott’s magnificent pole lap on Friday, he made a strong start and established a lead at the head of the field, knowing tyre management was just as important as raw pace.
Ilott - starting on the softer tyre - managed to stay out one lap longer than most of his rivals on the same strategy and began to work his way back through the field before the late pitstoppers changed tyres.
Once the cycle of pitstops was complete, Ilott had a huge lead. Thanks to the UNI-Virtuosi Racing team’s tyre management skills, as others fell away at the end Ferrari Academy Driver Ilott scorched to victory, 8.5 seconds clear of the rest of the field as he backed off in the closing stages.
Ilott’s result moves him 15-points clear at the top of the championship, and helped UNI-Virtuosi extend 25 points clear at the top of the teams’ battle.
That extending of the teams’ lead was also helped by points for Guanyu Zhou. After a tricky start which cost the Renault Formula 1 test and development driver positions, he patiently attacked on the alternative strategy to Ilott.
However, it can be difficult to pass at Silverstone when following in traffic, and Zhou remained stuck behind two cars to take ninth at the end of the day.
Ilott will start race two on Saturday morning one-spot ahead of Zhou in eighth, as the top eight from race one is reversed to establish the race two grid.
"We didn't have the best start today and unfortunately that limited what we could do in the race. "We have a bit of work to do on the car to score a better result tomorrow, but I'm confident in the team that we can work to improve. "We've shown good pace at Silverstone before and the field is tight, so any improvements give us a much better chance."
"What a race! I got everything right today, unlike last weekend. I'm really happy all the work the team and I have done to continue our progression, and today's result is proof of that work.
"I got the start right. Dan [Ticktum] got a very good start too and came up behind me. I felt like I'd done a good enough start, but clearly, he got a mega launch.
"The first stint was good. I had to extend it another lap. That was always the plan because of where we are in the pit lane. We're the first ones, so if everyone comes in on lap six I'll never get out because all the train would come through.
"I had a clear run out of the pits. I think I pulled a little bit of extra time on Christian [Lundgaard], and then tried to put a decent lap in to increase the gap and then maintained it from there. Not a bad effort, I think."
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