Zanella takes second to keep up the pressure on championship leader
Mirko Bortolotti took a commanding victory at the Nürburgring in the first FIA Formula Two race of the weekend, leading from the start and pulling out a 6.7 second lead over Christopher Zanella.
Whilst Bortolotti made a textbook getaway, those following immediately behind were not so fortunate. The main beneficiaries were Jack Clarke, who emerged in second, and Zanella, who quickly removed the English driver from his second place.
Zanella set off after Bortolotti but the Austro-Italian drove a beautiful race to control the gap, indeed he seemed to be able to extend it at will. All the while, Zanella made sure he was closer to the leader than Clarke in third place.
Clarke started this encounter with a train of cars jostling for position whilst the leaders made their escape. However, the pressure befell his pursuers as Mihai Marinescu crashed out at Turn 6. Meanwhile Ramon Pineiro was handed a drive-though penalty for lining up in the wrong place on the grid, which ruined his race.
Alex Brundle and Will Bratt then made contact at the final corner. The former was out of the race, whilst Bratt lost several places but was able to stay in the top 10 at a competitive pace.
In the second half of the race Bortolotti carried on his way, extending a four second lead to nearly seven by the end. The focus was now on Jack Clarke in third, as he had been caught by Miki Monras. The erstwhile championship leader was keen to take the final podium position to keep in touch with Bortolotti and Zanella. However, despite sitting behind the Englishman for several laps, he was unable to remove him from third place, his first podium of the year.
Fifth place was claimed by Jordan King, continuing a strong start to his F2 career. He was able to maintain a gap from an encouraging drive from Dutchman Kelvin Snoeks. Will Bratt salvaged seventh from his earlier contact, whilst Mikkel Mac scored a fine eighth place. The top 10 was completed by two drivers competing in their home race – Thiemo Storz and Johannes Theobald.
Speaking after the race a delighted Bortolotti said: "Very happy with that win and the guys did a very good job. I got a good start and also opening lap. That was a special win for me as it’s my first ever time at the Nürburgring so it’s a big thing for me to win on my first visit. I’m already looking forward to tomorrow!"
Qualifying for race two takes place tomorrow at 9:00 local time.
FIA Formula Two Championship – Nurburgring race one result:
1. Mirko Bortolotti, 20 Laps
2. Christopher Zanella, +6.705s
3. Jack Clarke, +15.068s
4. Miki Monras, + 16.535s
5. Jordan King, +27.425s
6. Kelvin Snoeks, +32.115s
7. Will Bratt, +37.178s
8. Mikkel Mac, +37.757s
9. Thiemo Storz, +38.384s
10. Johannes Theobald, +42.267s
For more information on the series click onto www.formulatwo.com