F2 Report 70th Anniversary: A season-defining weekend?

Another week, another weekend of racing action at Silverstone, this time for the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.

Last weekend was a weekend where Callum Ilott should have taken the lead of the championship from Robert Shwartzman, who would’ve been relieved (and lucky) to leave that Round 4 with the championship lead after posting a blank at Silverstone the first time around. However, a unforced error from Ilott while running in the podium places forced Ilott into a retirement…

Ilott righted the wrongs from last week as he took a dominant victory in the feature racing this time around — converting the victory from pole position — and was able to add a few more points in the sprint race too.

The upshot of it all (in a very successful weekend for Ilott) is that he now takes a 19 point lead of the championship, which officially (as of right now) reached the halfway point.

But it’s not a 19 point lead ahead of Robert Shwartzman — it’s Christian Lundgaard who he leads now. Such was the weekend (and last weekend too) that Shwartzman has dropped down to 3rd in the standings, 21 points adrift of Ilott now.

In a sense, Shwartzman only has himself to blame and in another sense he’s very unlucky.

Having led for most of the way during the sprint race, he was the victim of Mick Schumacher’s swipe into Brooklands, misjudging where his teammate was — 15 points (or, 12 at least) gone in the blink of an eye, and a 21 point deficit too.

That said, Shwartzman was, again, like last week, nowhere in qualifying and, thus, not in contention for a podium spot in the feature race (but, to be fair, was able to climb to reverse grid pole this time around).

I’m sure Shwartzman will be delighted to see the back of Silverstone, scoring a total of four points across four races while Ilott has scored 43 points, Lundgaard scored a very blessed 44 points and Mazepin — now only 14 points adrift of Shwartzman — also collected 44 points across the two Grand Prix weekends at Silverstone.

To win a title, you have to be able to perform anywhere and everywhere. Callum Ilott has shown the ability to do that so far. Unfortunately for Shwartzman, the track where he could not do that happened to host two Grand Prix weekends and four races… Ilott has been there or thereabouts every race so far.

Of the man who also jumped Shwartzman this weekend, a good weekend for Christian Lundgaard.

His place in the standings took a big hit after a tough weekend in Hungary but a strong feature race in which he took 2nd place means he takes the exact same position in the standings, just 19 points behind leader Ilott.

The sprint race was a weird one for him as he suffered from tyre issues and, eventually, a left-front puncture but a strong weekend from the Dane.

At this rate now, he’s probably moved himself ahead of, the slightly unlucky at times this season, Guanyu Zhou in the Renault academy. Lundgaard has enjoyed a much better season so far and, for what it’s worth, is 19 years old — 2 year younger than Zhou. If I was Renault, I’d explore the idea of sticking Lundgaard in that Renault for a testing session of some sort, get him some sort of experience in an F1 car.

Again, it’s a horrible time to be a Renault junior driver, given how limited opportunities have been for young drivers in their program to actually race for Renault now that Fernando Alonso has been confirmed for 2021 and 2022 and Esteban Ocon under contract for 2021.

Former Renault academy driver (by choice) Jack Aitken decided to show up for the 2020 F2 season after a double podium finish on the weekend, his first of the season. The sprint race podium a little fortunate after the Schumacher/Shwartzman incident dropped Shwartzman out of the points but even still… Aitken had qualified well last weekend but it just fell apart in the race. Not so this time.

What Aitken needs to do is follow this on next time out in Spain and not do what Luca Ghiotto has done where he’s had one good Grand Prix weekend on the season and hasn’t scored since (as he hasn’t done since Hungary).

Yuki Tsunoda took the sprint race victory but it’s fairer to say he inherited the sprint race victory after Schumacher and Shwartzman collided. To be fair to Tsunoda though, he was right there when that accident happened: he was part of the leading trio which were well clear of the rest of the field, they were in a class of their own on Sunday.

Tsunoda, on his day, is as quick as some of the front-runners but has shown inconsistency. If he can put together a run, he’d potentially make Red Bull’s decision (worth remembering Tsunoda is a Honda junior driver) in terms of their driver lineup for Alpha Tauri more difficult for 2021, with matters as unclear as they are between Alex Albon at Red Bull and then Pierre Gasly and Daniil Kvyat at Alpha Tauri.

All Tsunoda has to do is stringing together performances similar to this.

Let’s do a general round-up: a few quick hitters.

Some great overtaking at Silverstone this weekend. Louis Delatraz with a number of moves at the exit of the Vale complex (very solid weekend for Delatraz overall), Guanyu Zhou had a great one in the sprint race (Zhou was strong in the sprint race)…some really good racing this weekend.

This overtake from Mazepin was very brave as the Russian continued his fine form.

Dan Ticktum still hasn’t learned a damn thing… It’s incredible.

An awful weekend for Ticktum, falling from a strong qualifying position of 4th to finish 15th in the feature race but fared better in the sprint race as he finished in 7th from 15th.

Marcus Armstrong started the season well but has really struggled of late and did so again over the weekend. Armstrong hasn’t scored a point since the Styrian sprint race: three race weekends now. Tough going, especially seeing the recent form of teammate Lundgaard.

We probably saw the best of Artem Markelov this weekend so far this season. Now, that isn’t saying much (considering his ‘best’ weekend so far consisted of an 11th place finish in the sprint race. Alas…

This was nice though.

So, Callum Ilott is the leader of the championship once again as we reach the “halfway” point.

Now, I don’t think we’re actually at the halfway mark of the season. Officially, yes, we are, but I imagine we’ll see confirmation of some races at Bahrain and Abu Dhabi once those venues are confirmed for F1 to finish the season.

Whatever the case, Robert Shwartzman has work to do… His, at one point, strong championship lead is well and truly gone.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s