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FIA F2 Championship, Baku, Sprint Race 1 & 2 Report

FIA F2 Championship, Baku, Sprint Race 1 & 2 Report

Trident Motorsport was back fighting at the top of the series in Azerbaijan. In addition to scoring his first points of the season, Dutch rookie Bent Viscaal went close to a podium finish in Sprint Race 2, which he ended in P4 after a P10 in Sprint Race 1. In the two opening races, Marino Sato scored P18 and P13.

The third round of the FIA Formula 2 Championship started on the high-speed city track of Baku, hosting the first two races of the championship's Azerbaijani weekend today. The event-closing Feature Race will be at 12:45 local time, 10:45 CET. 

The first day of racing at the Caspian seaside track turned out to be very positive for Trident Motosport, which came close to the first podium of the season with Bent Viscaal. The Dutchman ended up fourth in Sprint Race 2, while Marino Sato did not manage to break into the top-10 at the end of a tough day of practice and qualifying. The Trident Motorsport, who were making their Baku debut, had different luck since free practice when Viscaal showed a promising pace, while Sato got an off-track that prevented him from gaining experience and confidence. In the qualifying session, Viscaal set the 13th fastest lap time with a mistake in the final sector of his fastest lap, which affected what would have been a row 4 performance. 

Having missed the free practice session, Sato set the 20th fastest lap time, but the struggles of being a rookie on the complex Azerbaijani track are well known. In Sprint Race 1, Viscaal recovered three positions, made some valuable overtakes and reached the goal of claiming the tenth place.

That result earned him a P1 start on the Sprint Race 2 grid. Regarding Marino Sato, in Sprint Race 1 the strategy choice was to start with the Option tyres, which would have proved decisive in the event of a safety car intervention between lap 5 and 10. In the final stages, Sato was recalled for a tire change and finished the run with a set of Prime tyres, gaining experience ahead of the following races. After losing the lead of the race in the very early stages, Viscaal put up a brilliant race 2 pace that allowed him to fight for the podium. He brought home his first points of the season with the fourth spot the  Compared to Sprint Race 1, Marino Sato delivered an improving run and put up a good comeback to P13. Now the technical staff of Trident Motorsport will use today's valuable feedback to prepare for the Feature Race.

Giacomo Ricci, Team Manager, commento qualifiche e Race 1

“Viscaal showed good chemistry with the track right from the free practice session, while in qualifying, he made a small mistake in the final sector that jeopardized a row four performance. The Dutchman for sure had a  positive Sprint Race 1, achieving the goal he had set for himself to recover three positions and get to P10. That position allowed him to start from the top in Race 2. Marino Sato's qualifying session was negatively affected by the incident that occurred in free practice, which prevented our driver, a rookie in the field, from gaining adequate experience and confidence to be competitive. In Sprint Race 1, we made the strategic choice to start with the Option tyres, which would have proved profitable if there had been an intervention of the safety car from lap 5 to 10. Then we called our driver back to mount the Prime ones with the aim of allowing him to gain experience ahead of the following races".

Giacomo Ricci, Team Manager, Race 2 commentary

"We are satisfied with the level of performance showed by our cars. With Viscaal we had the potential to aim for P2. The fourth-place finish by the Dutch rookie is certainly a promising result that makes us very confident ahead of the next events. Viscaal had a very good race, but he needs to become familiar with the fight at the front. Some small mistakes cost him a well-deserved podium. We still got the first points with him and improved our score in the team classification. Regarding Sato is concerned, the Japanese improved his pace compared to the first race and recovered several positions. Tomorrow's race 3 will not be easy, given the result of qualifying, but we will do our best to return to Italy with more points.”