Carlin’s Nobuharu Matsushita was back on the podium this weekend in Budapest as the eighth round of the FIA formula 2 championship got underway in Hungary. The Honda-junior driver had a storming Sprint Race in which he was hunting down the win – crossing the line in second place. Teammate Louis Delétraz had a contrasting weekend with a hydraulic issue which took him out of a strong finish in the Feature Race and therefore meant he started well out of position for Sunday’s Sprint Race at a track where overtaking manoeuvres are few and far between.
Both Carlin cars enjoyed solid pace throughout Friday with Delétraz brilliantly mastering the wet, tricky conditions to secure a third row start for the Feature race in fifth; Matsushita wasn’t far behind in eighth marking another solid performance for the talented duo. However come Saturday morning Delétraz’s luck would take a nose dive on the third lap of the race when a hydraulic issue sadly took him out of a fantastic potential finish. Matsushita meanwhile was looking good, despite overtaking being notoriously difficult, and crossed the line 7th on the road – securing a front row start for the Sprint Race.
With a Carlin car at either end of the grid, Sunday’s Sprint race was lining up to be an exciting prospect. As the lights went out, Matshushita got a storming start and looked to almost have the edge on pole-sitter Mick Schumacher however he found himself with nowhere to go and suddenly fell back into the clutches of Sergio Sette Camara behind. Thankfully the Honda-backed driver was able to hold his position well and followed in the tracks of the race leader – settling in to second place.
Meanwhile Delétraz, who’d started at the very back of the grid after his heart-breaking Feature Race, had managed to claw positions back despite the lack of overtaking opportunities at the Hungaroring.
Towards the latter stages of the race, Matsushita began to close the gap to race leader Schumacher ahead; the gap ebbed and flowed but the Carlin driver was unable to get close enough to pull a move. Matsushita crossed the line taking a brilliant second place and another podium to add to his tally – also clinching the fastest lap of the race. Delétraz meanwhile took the flag in 13th.
Matsushita said of his race, “I was aiming to overtake Mick [Schumacher] at the first corner but he had a good start as well. Mine was slightly better but I couldn’t overtake. After that I was managing my tyres and then, I don’t know, ten laps before the end I started to push. I tried to get the fastest lap, and I did it, so I’m happy about that.”