Alex Fontana ended his run of bad luck with a superb maiden Formula Two win during today’s (Friday) sun-soaked race at the Hungaroring, powering his way from fourth on the grid to finish ahead of pole-sitter Kevin Mirocha and Luciano Bacheta.
The 20-year-old Swiss, who hasn’t been on the podium since the opening rounds at Silverstone, benefited from an incident-packed opening few laps before making a decisive move on race-leader Kevin Mirocha at Turn 1 on lap four, before pulling away to take the chequered flag.
There was drama before the lights had even gone out at the Budapest circuit as front-row starter Markus Pommer was forced to pull into the pits. That gave Mirocha a clean run off the line where he wasted little time in leading the field into the first hairpin, closely followed by Mathéo Tuscher. A poor starting Fontana allowed Mihai Marinescu to get ahead and into third while Bacheta was up into fifth, benefitting from Daniel McKenzie running wide on the opening lap. A mistake by Hector Hurst at Turn 2 then saw contact between him, David Zhu and Axcil Jefferies with Dino Zamparelli also having to take evasive action.
Then on lap three Marinescu tried a bold move on Tuscher into Turn 1 for second place with the Romanian making contact with the back of the his car, ending his race and dropping Tuscher right down the field before eventually retiring.
A lap later Fontana then saw his chance to squeeze by Mirocha with Bacheta also finding himself in a podium position while his title rivals were nowhere to be seen. Zamparelli was also working his way through the field after getting past newcomer Richard Gonda at the chicane for P7, before dispatching Max Snegriev to eventually finish sixth.
At the front, Fontana was making full use of a clear track to build a sizeable gap while the closest battle lay for third with McKenzie pushing his fellow countryman all the way to the line. Fifth spot went to Christopher Zanella with Max Snegirev scoring his first points finish of the season with seventh. Slovakian newcomer Gonda finished a respectable eighth with Plamen Kralev and David Zhu completing the top 10.
Speaking afterwards Fontana said: "It was a great race and a long overdue win! The qualifying was a little disappointing given how quick we were in free practice but it was still a good grid slot. I did get a bit lucky with Marinescu and Tuscher making contact and then I was able to stay behind Mirocha and use my overboost to get past him and then my speed did the rest."
With a 47.5 point lead, Bacheta can now secure the championship title during tomorrow’s second race which gets underway at 14:30 (local time).
F2 Results: Hungaroring – Race 1:
1. Alex Fontana, 22 laps
2. Kevin Mirocha, +2.774s
3. Luciano Bacheta, +9.111s
4. Daniel McKenzie, +9.922s
5. Christopher Zanella, +17.442s
6. Dino Zamparelli, +29.559s
7. Max Snegirev, +35.525s
8. Richard Gonda, +52.293s
9. Plamen Kralev, +1:02.435s
10. David Zhu, +1:17.957s
11. Markus Pommer, DNF
12. Mathéo Tuscher, DNF
13. Mihai Marinescu, DNF
14. Axcil Jefferies, DNF
15. Hector Hurst, DNF