The FIA Formula 2 Championship headed to the Hungaroring in Budapest for Rounds 15-16 of the 2018 Championship, before the series heads into the traditional ‘summer break’ alongside the FIA Formula One World Championship.
Qualifying took place in scorching hot conditions on Friday afternoon, where the times around the 4.381km Budapest circuit were incredibly close. The top 15 drivers were covered by just 7 tenths of a second, as Fukuzumi qualified in 11th position and Günther in 15th position for the Feature Race on Saturday.
During the F1 Qualifying session that preceded the F2 Feature Race, a huge rainstorm hit the circuit – requiring a late change to wet tyres for all driver’s. As the race got underway, the rain stopped and the conditions would improve dramatically over the course of the race.
The race started with five laps behind the safety car, before the cars lined up for a ‘standing start’. Both BWT Arden drivers got away cleanly in the treacherous conditions, but Günther was crashed into by a rival driver at Turn 5, giving him a puncture with a long way to go to reach the pitlane – which saw him ruled out of contention for points in the race early on. He managed to re-join the race, albeit far behind where he deserved to be.
Fukuzumi managed his wet tyres throughout the opening stages of the race, as a dry line began to form at half distance. Fukuzumi moved onto the slick ‘Medium’ compound Pirelli Tyres and re-joined in the thick of the battle for the points paying positions.
As driver’s confidence in the conditions grew in the closing stages of the race, on now an almost slick track – Fukuzumi moved up into the points, securing a 10th place finish at the flag to bag himself a championship point in a very difficult race. Günther made it to the finish in his compromised race, securing 16th at the chequered flag despite the damaged car.
The Sprint Race took place in dry and hot conditions. Both BWT Arden’s made good starts, with Günther doing well to avoid a three-car collision in Turn 3, which brought out a Virtual Safety Car while a stranded car was cleared from the circuit.
The action resumed a lap later, with Fukuzumi running in 10th position and teammate Günther not far behind him in 13th position.
During the opening half of the race, driver’s concentrated on looking after their tyres due to the Hungaroring behind notoriously hard on tyre wear. The second half is where the race started to come alive, where some drivers went too hard on their tyres in the beginning and began to pay the price in the closing stages.
Günther however had his charge blunted as he closed in on the battle for the top 10, as a technical issue with the engine caused a loss of power and forced him to retire from the race.
Fukuzumi managed to reap the rewards of his tyre management, passing four cars in the closing eight laps to move himself into 6th position at the chequered flag, just pipping Nyck de Vries on the line by 0.001s in a dramatic finish!
The FIA Formula 2 Championship now heads into a summer break, before returning to action on the 24-26 August at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium.