Spanish teenager wins opening F2 race in Austria
Ramon Pineiro secured his second successive win in the FIA Formula Two Championship after dominating the first race at the Red Bull Ring today (Saturday).
The 19-year-old Spaniard started on pole, made a great start and never looked back as he comfortably built a lead at the front. Austro-Italian Mirko Bortolotti finished second to increase his lead at the top of the drivers’ standings, while Mihai Marinescu finally claimed his maiden F2 podium after holding off a charging Alex Brundle.
There was drama right from the very first corner of the 26 lap race when Johannes Theobald made contact with Brit Jack Clarke and newcomer Rene Binder causing the German to go airborne in the braking zone for turn one and rolled before coming to rest the right way up. Despite the severity of the incident, Theobald immediately stepped out of the car, demonstrating the safety of the JPH1B car.
The action continued at the same corner on the second lap of the race, as Miki Monras and Mikkel Mac collided while braking, forcing both out of the race and severely damaging the Spaniard’s title hopes.
As the race continued, Pineiro continued to pull away with Bortolotti following but unable to mount a challenge. Christopher Zanella, who had started the race third, was now running in fifth but the Swiss racer would eventually end the race pointless after a moment in the final stages, combined with a drive-through penalty for exceeding the track limits, ended a difficult afternoon for the 21-year-old.
The real battle, however, lay between Marinescu and Brundle for the final spot with the Brit putting the Romanian under increasing pressure but was unable to pass him leaving Mihai to take the honours.
After being involved with the first lap incident, Jack Clarke drove an impressive race to finish fifth, passing Julian Theobald and Christopher Zanella along the way. Theobald hung on to secure sixth place and a career best result while Luciano Bacheta impressed on his F2 debut with seventh.
Benjamin Lariche, James Cole and Plamen Kralev, rounded out the top 10 but the race belonged to Pineiro who never really looked trouble as he brought his 500bhp car home for his second win and move into fourth place in the drivers’ standings.
Speaking afterwards a delighted Pineiro said: “I knew that the start was very important so I made sure I got to the first corner first and my pace was the fastest out there. I just tried to build up the gap smoothly and make no mistakes and bring the car home and take the win.
“The temperature was quite high outside and to keep your concentration in the high temperature is very tough especially when you’re on your own, you must keep your focus and I think I managed it ok.”
Sunday’s qualifying session gets underway at 09:05 (local time) with full coverage on www.formulatwo.com.
Results, Red Bull Ring, Race one:
1. Ramon Pineiro, 26 laps
2. Mirko Bortolotti, +5.401s
3. Mihai Marinescu, +14.153s
4. Alex Brundle, +14.574s
5. Jack Clarke, +26.893s
6. Julian Theobald, +31.358s
7. Luciano Bacheta, +34.381s
8. Benjamin Lariche, +35.115s
9. James Cole, +41.405s
10.Plamen Kralev, +47.603s