Prema’s Nyck de Vries rose from fourth on the grid to seal his first F2 victory of 2018 with a brilliant drive in the Paul Ricard sprint race. 

The McLaren Formula 1 youngster jumped a slow-starting Tadasuke Makino and pulled off overtakes on Nicholas Latifi and Louis Deletraz, before opening up a comfortable lead he held to the finish to claim his second victory in the series with a commanding drive. 

There was drama before the race got underway, as feature race winner George Russell was pushed off the grid and into the pitlane with a throttle issue, while Nirei Fukuzumi stalled from ninth as the formation lap begin. Moments later, ART Grand Prix’s Jack Aitken suffered an embarrassing retirement as he spun and stalled at the final corner in his attempts to warm up his tyres.

Reverse grid polesitter Makino bogged down off the line as the lights went out and dropped to fifth, with second-place man Latifi getting the jump on the Russian Time driver to move into an early lead.

Monaco podium finisher Deletraz hounded Latifi in the opening laps and pulled off a decisive overtake at the Mistral Chicane on Lap 4, before the latter lost another position two laps later as de Vries found a way past at the same corner.

After settling into a rhythm, de Vries cut into Deletraz’s two second advantage before the Dutchman made a move for the race lead stick around the outside of Deletraz as the pair ran side-by-side into the Turn 8 Chicane on the 13th tour. 

Force India F1 development driver Latifi fell back from the leading pair and into the clutches of Luca Ghiotto, who took advantage to move into third place and seal his second podium finish of the weekend for Campos, with Latifi ultimately dropping down the order following a late battle with Lando Norris. 

Antonio Fuoco finished a distant fourth ahead of Norris, who recovered from a disastrous feature race to extend his championship lead with a strong drive to fifth after he came out on top of a thrilling wheel-to-wheel duel with Carlin teammate Sergio Sette Camara. 

Norris snatched fifth from Latifi on the final lap, with the latter running wide into Turn 1 after picking up front-wing damage following slight contact with the Briton. Latifi ultimately limped home to claim the final point in eighth, behind teammate Alexander Albon who scythed through the field from 17th. 

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