Bortolotti wins opening race at Brno
Mirko Bortolotti has won the opening race this afternoon at Brno, Czech Republic, and taken the points lead in the 2009 FIA Formula Two Championship.
|Bortolotti leads at the start|
Fellow Red Bull Junior driver Mikhail Aleshin was second, whilst Philipp Eng finished third after intense battles with Carlos Iaconelli, who spun off into retirement at Turn 8 on Lap 14, and later Henri Karjalainen.
Bortolotti led the field down to Turn 1 on the opening lap, and was able to hold off an attack from Aleshin during the early stages of the race. The Italian then set about establishing a gap back to Aleshin, and went on take his maiden F2 victory in commanding fashion. Aleshin went on to take a comfortable second, as several drivers squabbled behind him for the final podium position.
Philipp Eng and Carlos Iaconelli held third and fourth early on after they both passed Henri Karjalainen. Brazilian driver Iaconelli spun out of the race whilst pressuring Eng, before Karjalainen attempted to retake third position. The Finn chased down Eng during the final laps, but Eng held on by just 0.283s.
Julien Jousse had a quiet and consistent run to fifth, whilst Armaan Ebrahim held off a charging Edoardo Piscopo to clinch sixth. Piscopo had to make his way through the field from the back of the grid after failing to get away cleanly on the formation lap - the Italian producing a series of breathtaking overtaking moves in one of the drives of the day.
Tom Gladdis was the highest British finisher in eighth, just ahead of Robert Wickens, who set the fastest lap right at the end of the race. Jolyon Palmer was in tenth, ahead of fellow Formula Palmer Audi graduate Alex Brundle.
Pole-sitter Nicola De Marco was forced to start from the pit lane, but recovered to finish 12th.
Henry Surtees and Jack Clarke were both eliminated following a start line clash, which also involved Wickens. All three drivers were side-by-side on the run down to turn one, before inevitable contact was made. Only Wickens was able to continue, and a brief safety car period was called in order to remove the stricken cars of Surtees and Clarke. Pietro Gandolfi, Kazim Vasiliauskas, Germán Sánchez and Jens Höing all retired following spins.
Mirko Bortolotti said: “I had a good start and a good race. I'm very happy to be in front at the moment, but there are a lot of races to go. My mentality is that there are 24 other drivers who all want to win, so I will fight and we'll see at the end.”
|Bortolotti still ahead at the finish|
Mikhail Aleshin said: “If I had just got a slightly better start then I might have tried the pass on Mirko. It wasn't really possible but we will see next time. I was pushing the whole race, and I’m happy to have guided the car home in second.”
Philipp Eng said: “It’s great to be third. There were still two drivers in front of me so I can’t be 100% happy, but it is still nice to back up my pace from Valencia and it is always good to be on the podium.”
1. Mirko Bortolotti, 22 laps
2. Mikhail Aleshin, +4.675s
3. Philipp Eng, +12.330s
4. Henri Karjalainen, +12.613s
5. Julien Jousse, +7.391s
6. Armann Ebrahim, +26.071s
7. Edoardo Piscopo, +26.355
8. Tom Gladdis, +34.055s