Ilott triumphs in Austria after heartbreak for team-mate Zhou

Callum Ilott takes advantage of Guanyu Zhou's disappointment to take Austria Feature Race victory in the 2020 F2 season opener 
Ilott triumphs in Austria after heartbreak for team-mate Zhou

F2 Austria - Feature Race Results

Callum Ilott has taken his maiden FIA Formula 2 victory with a battling performance in the feature race at the Red Bull Ring, albeit only after his team-mate Guanyu Zhou was denied a well-deserved victory from pole position.

In a cracking start to the 2020 F2 season, UNI-Virtuosi pairing Ilott and Zhou were ultimately the headline grabbers as they held a 1-2 position for almost the entirety of the race only for the latter to be let down by technical gremlins with 14 laps to go.

Starting from third on the grid, Ilott got a superb jump up the long hill towards turn one to snatch the lead but a wide exit allowed Zhou to come back at him, the pair going side-by-side through turns four, five and six before the Chinese driver eventually prevailed.

From here both he, Ilott and Mick Schumacher pulled a margin over the chasing pack, going long on their soft tyres before Zhou pitted on lap 17.

Though he’d find himself leapfrogged by the later stopping Ilott and Schumacher as he struggled to get the hard tyres up to temperature, he quickly dispatched of both in the ensuing laps as he looked on course for a maiden F2 win.

However, it was not to be, Zhou slowing with what appeared to be electric issues, promoting Ilott into a lead he’d hold to the finish line to win by more than 8 seconds.

Behind him, Schumacher ruined his hopes of a podium when he ran off at turn seven in the wake of a safety car period to clear Artem Markelov’s stricken HWA Racelab car, dropping him out of the points.

As such, Marcus Armstrong emerged in an excellent second place on his F2 debut, the Kiwi pitting early on from well outside the top ten and pushing in the clear air to make huge gains by the end of the pit-stop window.

Robert Shwartzman completed the podium in third place for Prema Racing, in turn holding off another of his former F3 rivals Christian Lundgaard, while Dan Ticktum made it four F2 rookies inside the top five on his debut for DAMS.

Giuliano Alesi ran long on the hard tyres during his first stint and was well placed as the only soft-shod car in a field tightened by the safety car with ten laps remaining, surging from 12th to sixth late on.

Louis Deletraz was seventh, ahead of Felipe Drugovic, Nobuharu Matsushita and Roy Nissany, who took a point for tenth with a brilliant double pass into turn four for Trident.

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