Carlin’s Yuki Tsunoda has dedicated his Feature Race victory at Spa Francorchamps to the late Anthonie Hubert, a year after the loss of the FIA Formula Two driver. In a touching tribute, Tsunoda referenced how the Renault Sport Academy driver had influenced his driving style and inspired his racecraft. Tsunoda won the Feature Race on Saturday having participated in a close-fought battle on track which was eventually decided in the steward’s office.
The third F2 triple-header started at Spa on Friday with Free practice and qualifying. As the field of 22 tried desperately to clock a lap around the long circuit with a tow, it was increasingly challenging to do so. However, Tsunoda managed to brilliantly find his speed and set the fastest lap to secure pole position; Jehan Daruvala was also setting solid lap times and lined up ninth on the grid for the opening race of the weekend.
Off the line, Tsunoda was blindingly fast to hold the lead, ignore the squabbling behind him and focus on building a gap. A slightly slow pit stop as he came in for his mandatory tyre change left him on the back foot a little and requiring him to fight for the lead of the race with Nikita Mazepin.
Daruvala meanwhile had endured an incredibly frustrating start to the weekend – the talented Indian racer suffered contact which broke his front wing and damaged his tyre. This required a slow and painful return to the pit lane; eventually sending him to the back of the grid and out of contention. Despite this, and on new tyres, Daruvala pushed incredibly hard to try and salvage whatever he could from his weekend and crossed the line 19th.
Tsunoda also had work to do as he aimed to retake the lead of the race. Trying consecutively at Les Combes to make a move in the closing laps, he was eventually pushed wide, off track and over the kerbs by Mazepin. The stewards noted the move as Tsunoda joined back in second. Taking the flag in second Tsunoda was immediately elevated to the race win after the move was deemed to have been in bad taste. Mazepin was handed a five-second deduction on his race time, moving Tsunoda up to the race win.
Tsunoda said, “This win is for Anthoine. I pushed every lap and tried to drive as he would. I’m very happy with that result. I would like to thank Carlin, Red Bull and Honda.”
The Sprint Race on Sunday saw Tsunoda finish ninth and Daruvala 16th.