Nikita Mazepin made the most of two late Safety Car periods at Mugello to claim his second Formula 2 race victory of the season.

Mazepin started from 14th on the grid and looked like he was on course for a small handful of points at most until the Safety Car period on Lap 26 due to Giuliano Alesi's stricken car.

On the alternate strategy, Mazepin maximised a chaotic first Safety Car restart which saw former championship leader Callum Ilott pick up damage and both Jack Aitken and Guanyu Zhou retire from the race following contact with Mick Schumacher.

Once Aitken and Zhou’s cars were cleared, Mazepin made light work of race leader Christian Lundgaard and Hitech team-mate Luca Ghiotto into Turn 1 for the lead of the race, with the Russian running out a comfortable winner by 4.4s by the end of the race.

Ghiotto secured second, holding off a fast-charging Louis Deletraz for third place, who like Mazepin benefitted from the alternate strategy and subsequent Safety Car periods.

Felipe Drugovich was a strong fourth in the lead MP Motorsport ahead of Mick Schumacher, who now leads the F2 championship following Ilott’s failure to finish inside the top ten.

Lundgaard led much of the race but his stop on Lap 8 meant he struggled for tyres in the closing laps, ultimately dropping to sixth ahead Jüri Vips and Artem Markelov.

Yuki Tsunoda had finished eighth and thus was on course to start Sunday’s sprint race from pole, but was handed a five-second penalty for colliding with Dan Ticktum on the first Safety Car restart.

Marcus Armstrong secured ninth having made a second stop under the Safety Car, while Jehan Daruvala rounded out the top ten.

With Schumacher taking the lead of the championship following his fifth place, Ilott could only manage 12th and Robert Shwartzman retired early on due to a mechanical issue.

 

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