Sochi F2: Zhou wins truncated sprint race after huge crash

Guanyu Zhou was declared the winner of a truncated Formula 2 sprint race at Sochi following a high-speed crash between Jack Aitken and Luca Ghiotto on lap 8 of 21.

At the start of the race, Jack Aitken made a quick start from third on the grid to pass Nikita Mazepin and challenge Guanyu Zhou for the lead into Turn 2.

However, Aitken’s charge didn’t last for long and Mazepin repassed him on the second lap, before he was demoted to fourth by Prema’s Mick Schumacher, who had made a lightning start from eighth following his victory in Saturday’s feature race.

Out front, Mazepin had brought the deficit to Zhou down to under half a second when the race had to be red flagged on Lap 8 following a massive crash between Aitken and the Hitech of Ghiotto.

Ghiotto passed Aitken for second heading into Turn 2, but the Campos driver tried to retake the spot into the long Turn 3 left-hander. As they drove side-by-side, Aitken hit Ghiotto’s Hitech, sending both cars straight into the barriers.

The race was red-flagged immediately due to damage sustained to the barriers, and Ghiotto’s car was later seen catching fire, likely caused by a fuel leak.

Both cars were retrieved and FIA race director Michael Masi was seen at the crash site to assess the damage to the barriers, but after 25 minutes of waiting a decision was made to not restart.

With less than 75% of the race distance completed, only half the points were awarded to the top eight finishers.

Zhou was declared the race winner, scoring his maiden victory in his sophomore season in the category, while Mazepin finished second ahead of championship leader Schumacher.

Aitken and Ghiotto were classified fourth and fifth respectively as the results were taken at the end of lap 5, while Red Bull/Honda junior Yuki Tsunoda was classified sixth ahead of title rival Callum Ilott (Virtuosi).

DAMS driver Dan Ticktum picked up half a point for finishing eighth.

Carlin’s Jehan Daruvala was running behind teammate Tsunoda, but was handed a five-second penalty for not following the correct procedure to rejoin the track after running wide at Turn 2, dropping him down to 11th.

Race results to follow

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