Vital points for UNI-Virtuosi, podium for Ilott and ace Zhou comeback
Callum Ilott scored a strong second place and was as much as four seconds a lap quicker than the eventual winner at the end of the Hungaroring race, while Guanyu Zhou delivered a phenomenal drive to recover FIA Formula 2 points for UNI-Virtuosi Racing and deliver fastest lap. Ilott had scored pole position for Saturday’s feature race, but the team was caught on the wrong strategy and he fell to eighth position in the closing stages. However that guaranteed pole position for the reversed-grid race. Ilott stormed to an early lead over three seconds in Sunday morning's second race, and with tyre wear high, the team elected to pit. The eventual winner stayed out, and while Ilott hunted him down, he was unable to get close enough to make a move despite erasing a 30-second gap. The result means the Ferrari Driver Academy ace is second in the championship leaving Hungary, 18 points adrift of the lead. He won the first race of the season and has not finished outside the top 10. Zhou was on the same strategy as Ilott in the first race having started third, and finished 10th, missing out on the chance of a reversed-grid spot. After a tricky start where he struggled to get away from the grid, Zhou rebounded and using the same strategy as his team-mate he was able to recover to eighth and claim the final point available for the race.
Next up, the team heads to Silverstone for its home event, where Zhou holds the FIA F2 lap record after his pole position there last year. The championship will race at Silverstone for two weekends, spanning four races.
"Qualifying was good in the rain, we had really good pace. I think we did a good strategy for the race. The race one start was bad and we weren’t expecting to have that much degradation with these tyres. I think in general we’ve gone from no deg in Austria to more deg than we had last year here. It’s frustrating to finish P8, P10. Sunday’s race was compromised by Saturday, but we made good set-up changes so we got the fastest lap and we have something to build on to come back strong and fight for decent points in the next few rounds."
"It was a great second race. it was a great start, a great first lap. I just cleared away and had a good gap. I was managing the tyres. This year the tyres are kind of up and down. They were fine and then they just dropped off. At that point, I think within two laps we calculated it and made the decision to pit. Honestly, the option tyres held performance longer than I thought. It was getting close at the end. I was loving it, but also it was frustrating to have it so close to that point. We didn't plan to box at all. I still think he still would have been ahead because of our pit stop. But what a race it was. It was good fun."