While there may be a long way to go in Formula 1’s season upon reaching the summer break, Formula 2 is nearing the endgame of its campaign and title battle.

Just one-third of the F2 season remains this year following a busy start to the year that has already seen the championship support F1 at eight events, offering eight different winners and 13 podium finishers.

Nyck de Vries and Nicholas Latifi are the primary title protagonists heading into the closing stages of the season, but how did it get to this point?

Here’s a look back at the F2 season so far.

Round 1: Bahrain - Experience Shines Through

The opening round of the year in Bahrain saw the experienced heads in the field come to the fore as Nicholas Latifi, Luca Ghiotto and Sergio Sette Camara shared the podium spoils. With a combined seven seasons of experience in the category, the trio filled out the top three in both the Feature and Sprint races.

DAMS driver Latifi managed to pass pole-sitter Ghiotto early in the Feature Race before opening up a lead over the field, only to see that wiped away when a slow pit stop dropped him back to sixth.

Latifi picked his way through and eventually passed for the lead with nine laps to spare, going on to claim the first victory of the F2 season ahead of Ghiotto and DAMS teammate Sette Camara.

Ghiotto was the man on the move in the Sprint Race as he rose from P7 to the lead in five laps before rolling the dice with a pit stop in a bid to cash in on the tyre struggles being faced by others.

The Italian charged through the field in the final 10 laps to lead home Camara and Latifi, moving into the lead of the championship in the process.

Round 2: Baku - Aitken Keeps Cool

A classic race of attrition played out in Baku on Saturday as Jack Aitken managed to keep his cool to score his second F2 victory.

Aitken rose from P8 to P2 on the opening lap before getting the jump on Nyck de Vries in the pits, only to be made to sweat on his advantage as a number of incidents behind led to recurring Safety Car periods - including one for Sergio Sette Camara’s spin on the run to the restart.

The race was eventually shortened to time, with Aitken crossing the line ahead of Nyck de Vries and Jordan King, who grabbed the final podium position after a late overtake on Nicholas Latifi.

Latifi would have the last laugh on Sunday as he took victory in the Sprint Race - again run to time due to three Safety Car periods - ahead of Juan Manuel Correa and de Vries, extending his lead in the championship in the process.

Round 3: Spain - Three And Easy For Latifi

Latifi continued to turn up the heat on his early title rivals by claiming his third victory of the season in Saturday’s Feature Race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, winning a race-long fight with Guanyu Zhou.

Latifi trailed Zhou through the opening stint before eventually getting past on the Prime tyre through the closing stages, sweeping to a win that extended his championship lead to 26 points.

Latifi maintained the gap to the rest of the field in Sunday’s Sprint Race despite only finishing sixth as Nyck de Vries picked up his first victory of the season, making an early pass on Anthoine Hubert and then controlling proceedings to the flag.

While it was only de Vries’ second visit to the podium all season, it would act as the kickstarter for an impressive run of form.

Round 4: Monaco - De Vries Cashes In

If Spain had been the start of de Vries’ turnaround, Monaco was where it began to really escalate. The former McLaren junior managed to grab pole position before keeping cool at the front of the pack in the Feature Race to score his second straight win, firmly putting himself back in title contention.

De Vries’ cause was helped by a bizarre red flag mix-up that left seven drivers one lap down by accident - including points leader Latifi, who was classified P12 and would leave the weekend pointless as he could only muster P10 in the Sprint Race.

While de Vries was only seventh in the Sunday race narrowly won by Anthoine Hubert, it was enough to draw him to within a point of Latifi at the head of the championship - quite the turnaround from two weeks prior.

Round 5: France - Hubert At Home

Another race, and another win for Nyck de Vries as he stretched his legs at the top of the F2 drivers’ standings by charging to victory at Paul Ricard in France.

De Vries recovered from P4 on the grid to move into the lead early on before seeing off Jack Aitken following the pit stops to score his third win in the space of four races, as well as picking up two bonus points for setting the fastest lap of the race. With Nicholas Latifi down in P5, the result saw de Vries’ advantage grow to 16 points.

Latifi was able to claw some back in Sunday’s Sprint Race as de Vries failed to score, finishing down in P10, but remained 12 points back leaving Paul Ricard.

Anthoine Hubert managed to pick up his second straight Sprint Race win, albeit with extra significance as it came on home soil, sparking spirited celebrations from the French fans in the grandstands.

Round 6: Austria - Matsushita Back On Top

After spending 2018 racing in Japan’s Super Formula series, Nobuharu Matsushita returned to F2 with hopes of finally breaking his Feature Race win drought - and achieved exactly that at the Red Bull Ring.

The Honda-backed racer offered his rivals a lesson in tyre management to pass pole-sitter de Vries to secure his first victory in F2 for nearly two years, with Luca Ghiotto also managing to pass the championship leader in the closing stages.

Despite finishing third, de Vries secured another big points swing as Latifi could only finish ninth, with the gap growing again on Sunday as de Vries picked up another P3 result. Heading to Silverstone, de Vries sat 37 points clear of his rival, marking a 67-point swing in the space of six races.

Round 7: Silverstone - Inroads For Latifi

Latifi moved to stop the losses to de Vries upon F2’s visit to Silverstone, but could not end his win drought dating back to the opening race of the Spain weekend as he lost out to Luca Ghiotto.

Ghiotto and Latifi went wheel-to-wheel in their fight for victory at Silverstone, with the former managing to get ahead at Stowe before pulling clear for his second win of the season. Latifi took second, gaining 10 points on de Vries in the title race.

But momentum swung back in de Vries’ favour in the Sunday Sprint Race as the Dutchman finished on the podium, with Latifi only fifth. Jack Aitken was able to produce a stunning display in front of his home crowd to take victory, highlighted by stunning passes on de Vries and Louis Deletraz en route to the win.

Round 8: Hungary - Schumacher’s Breakthrough

Straight battles between Nyck de Vries and Nicholas Latifi had been few and far between through the 2019 season. While the pair ran P1 and P2 set up the possibility in Hungary, it ended with a convincing win for Latifi.

Snapping his winless streak with his fourth victory of the season, Latifi managed to get the jump on de Vries early on before building a buffer, and ultimately crossed the line first behind the Safety Car to take a bite out of his rival’s points advantage.

Sunday’s race was most notable for Mick Schumacher’s maiden F2 victory, coming at the track his father claimed four F1 wins. Schumacher started on reverse grid pole and was able to soak up race-long pressure from Nobuharu Matsushita to record his first win in the category, returning the Schumacher name to the top step in Hungary.

Formula 2 Drivers' Championship Standings - Top 10

1. Nyck de Vries 196
2. Nicholas Latifi 166
3. Sergio Sette Camara 141
4. Luca Ghiotto 135
5. Jack Aitken 134
6. Guanyu Zhou 107
7. Nobuharu Matsushita 85
8. Anthoine Hubert 77
9. Louis Deletraz 60
10. Jordan King 59

 

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