Bratt secures maiden F2 in opening Spa race
Will Bratt secured his maiden FIA Formula Two race win during today's (Saturday) opening F2 race at Spa Francorchamps.
The Briton started fifth on the grid but capitalized on the treacherous conditions to lead by the end of the first lap. Mirko Bortolotti put his post-qualifying penalty behind him to secure second with Christopher Zanella third. Pole sitter Ramon Pineiro had a disastrous opening lap and fell a long way down the order, before recovering to seventh.
Bratt had a great start, and overtook several cars exiting La Source to run second by Eau Rouge while Ramon Pineiro had led away nicely from pole. Further back there was chaos at the top of Radillon with several cars spinning, with others taking drastic avoiding action, miraculously though there was no contact.
Pineiro had an off track excursion at Les Combes on the first lap under pressure from Bratt, dropping him down the order. He showed superb speed and race craft to battle his way past cars for much of the remainder of the race.
After hitting the front, Bratt was rarely troubled and had a lead of over a second for much of the race. In fact the only trouble Bratt seemed to have was finding wet areas on the drying circuit in order to keep his tires at a workable operating temperature.
Championship-leader Christopher Zanella was harrying the back of Bortolotti for second place, and almost found a way past at Les Combes before eventually getting past at La Source on lap 11. But Bortolotti got a much better exit from the hairpin and out-dragged Zanella down the hill to Eau Rouge.
Further down the order there was plenty of wheel-to-wheel action. Thiemo Storz was looking racey and attempted to find a way round the outside of Kelvin Snoeks on lap eight before having to cede position, bouncing over the run-off in the process. Snoeks then had an off-track excursion promoting Storz up a place, Theimo then passed Mihai Marinescu for seventh at La Source on lap 10.
At the front though, there were no concerns for Bratt who duly crossed the line at the end of a tricky 16-lap race to finally claim his maiden F2 win from Bortolotti and Zanella. Tobias Hegewald passed Alex Brundle for fourth, with the Brit settling for fifth. Thiemo Storz finished sixth, while Pineiro recovered to seventh. Marinescu, Miki Monras and Kelvin Snoeks rounded out the top ten.
Speaking after the race Bratt said: "It feels like a win that's long overdue. The conditions weren't too bad as long as you kept the car online but tricky if you didn't put the car in the right place. I got a good start and went down the outside on the brakes into the first corner and made up loads of time on the brakes; then I just nailed it through Eau Rouge. I'm feeling confident for tomorrow's race as I've been feeling confident all weekend."
Spa, Race One results:
1. Will Bratt, 16 laps
2. Mirko Bortolotti, +2.469s
3. Christopher Zanella, +3.317s
4. Tobias Hegewald, +13.391s
5. Alex Brundle, +19.215s
6. Thiemo Storz, +33.027s
7. Ramon Pineiro, +33.362s
8. Mihai Marinescu, +39.010s
9. Miki Monras, +47.141ss
10. Kelvin Snoeks, +49.947s