Enzo Fittipaldi mounted a penultimate lap pass on Richard Verschoor to take his maiden victory in Formula 2 in the Sprint Race at Spa-Francorchamps.

After the rain had subsided during the Formula 1 Sprint Shootout, all 20 drivers lined up on the grid fitted with dry tyres.

Joshua Mahon, who was only permitted to start by the stewards after crashing in qualifying, failed to get away for the formation lap and was subsequently pushed into the pit lane to take the start.

However, the drivers were delayed by an aborted start, forcing them to set off around the 4.352-mile circuit to complete an additional formation lap.

Once the racing finally got up and running next time around, polesitter Jehan Daruvala got away cleanly from the line to lead the field away into the La Source hairpin, but the same couldn’t be said for Richard Verschoor from the front row. The Van Amersfoort driver, however, managed to defend his second position into Turn 1.

Theo Pourchaire swiftly took advantage of the slipstream down the Kemmel Straight to dive past Ralph Boschung to take fourth into the Les Combe chicane, while title rival Frederik Vesti improved to sixth with a smooth move around the outside of Dennis Hauger into Turn 10.

Vesti’s charge up the field continued onto the second lap, with the Dane making the most of Boschung getting out of shape in the climb to Eau Rouge to move up to fourth.

Boschung’s scruffy run enabled Hauger to demote him a further place, before the Safety Car was called into action to remove the stranded headrest from Daruvala’s MP Motorsport car, ultimately bringing an unfortunate end to his race.

The Safety Car was called in at the end of Lap 4 and Zane Maloney, who had already lost a place to Victor Martins at the end of the first lap, was made to fend off Jack Doohan. The Australian, winner of the Feature race last time out in Hungary, failed with an ambitious dive to the outside of the Bus Stop chicane the next time around.

Earlier in the lap, Hauger had profited from Vesti’s conservative approach into Les Combe to send it around the outside and recover the position he had lost earlier on.

Meanwhile, back at the front, Verschoor extended his lead over Fittipaldi beyond the vital one-second mark to avoid the threat of the Rodin Carlin racer using DRS.

Ayumu Iwasa was aiming to recover from a wretched qualifying and continued his advances up the order with a tidy pass on the struggling Ollie Bearman. Next up on his radar was fellow Red Bull junior Maloney, promoting Iwasa up to ninth and on the tail of Boschung, who succumbed to intense pressure from Doohan on Lap 10.

Following his early exploits, Vesti’s plight down the order threatened to continue as the championship leader had to valiantly hold Martins at bay for several corners. At the second time of asking, the 2022 Formula 3 champion muscled his way past using the aid of DRS down the Kemmel Straight.

Bearman’s troubles resulted in Arthur Leclerc tagging the rear of the PREMA at Malmedy and dropping the Brit behind both the DAMS and Isack Hadjar to 13th.

Although Fittipaldi had threatened to drop into the clutches of those behind earlier in the race, the Brazilian rapidly closed on Verschoor with three laps to go.

Onto the penultimate course and Fittipaldi’s late-race pressure counted as he swooped around the outside of Verschoor to assume the lead and seal his first victory in F2.

Pourchaire held off Hauger to the end to secure the final place on the podium, ahead of the second ART of Martins.

The Frenchman’s third-place finish cuts the deficit in the standings to Vesti, who dropped to seventh behind Doohan.

Iwasa claimed the final point, narrowly missing out on overtaking Vesti after a lunge up the inside of the final chicane saw the pair fight nip and tuck to the chequered flag.

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