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July 30, 2017

Strong recovery drives in Budapest from Pertamina Arden

Norman Nato and Sean Gelael both completed strong recovery drives from difficult starts in at the Hungaroring in FIA Formula 2.

Pertamina Arden drivers Norman Nato and Sean Gelael put on a pair of strong recovery drivers each in both the Feature Race and Sprint Races in at the Hungaroring in Budapest for Rounds 13-14 of the FIA Formula 2 Championship.

Norman, despite struggling to get a clean lap in during qualifying managed to put in a strong final lap to take 6th position on the grid for the opening race of the weekend. Teammate Sean however was less fortunate, after a spin in qualifying saw the car stall and eliminate him from the session - meaning he would have start 20th for the Feature Race.

The start of the Feature Race was a nightmare for Norman! As the cars emerged from the pits on the laps to the grid, Norman's car had experienced technical issues - requiring the Pertamina Arden team to work frantically on the car to cure the issues. Sadly the team had to wheel Norman into the pitlane to fix the issue, brilliantly managing to resolve the issue so Norman could start the race from the pitlane and have a shot of points in the Feature Race.

Sean made good progress from his starting position to climb up the field and reach 16th after the first two laps. Norman had caught the pack up from his pitlane start to start picking positions off by the second lap of the race, as he began a charge through the field.
The pitstop window from those starting on the softer tyre opened on lap 10, as Sean had climbed up to 10th position on the alternate strategy. Norman pitted early for fresh tyres so he could run his race with minimal traffic on the traditionally difficult circuit to overtake on.

The entire grid had completed their pitstops at the end of lap 24, at this point, Norman had used the 'undercut' to his advantage to reach 12th position, just behind championship leader Charles Leclerc. Sean was just a couple of positions behind in 14th. Just ahead, a collision eliminated two of their rivals, as the safety car was then deployed and moved Norman into the points.
Norman and Sean were feisty at the restart, gaining ground up to 9th and 10th respectively immediately as the race went green once again. With three laps to go, the battle for the lead reached boiling point, as Artem Markelov went for an overtake on race leader Oliver Rowland, but over-commited and resulted in him spinning out and into the barriers - deploying the safety car until the end of the race as the accident was cleared.

Norman completed a brilliant recovery drive to come back to 7th position, Sean crossed the line in 9th position to give the Pertamina Arden team another double points score after two drives through the pack in the opening race of the weekend.

The Sprint Race saw Norman start from the front row of the grid in 2nd position. Sean started the race from 14th position. Norman and fellow front row starter Alex Albon experienced lots of wheelspin as the lights went green - this hindered their momentum as the chasing pack swallowed them up into turns 1 and 2. Norman competed the opening lap in 7th position whilst Sean made up five positions with a great start to the race and vaulted himself up to 9th position.

Norman made a bold move around the outside of Albon into turn two on the third lap, brilliantly holding the position well to move up into 6th. The Pertamina Arden pair held position throughout most of the race. Sean lost a place to Markelov on lap 15 but held onto the back of the Russian Time driver to pull him along to the pack infront. At the same time, Norman had to resist strong pressure from DAMS driver Nicholas Lattifi - which he weathered well lap after lap despite his rival having DRS active.

The closing stages of the race saw the heat and tyre management become a key factor Norman began to take lots of time out of Leclerc before a Virtual Safety Car period was called with six laps to go after a collision at turn one. A second VSC was deployed a lap later, the restart saw Norman resist a bold manoeuvre from Latiffi to hold onto 6th position. Sean had moved back up to 9th position in the meatime.
Norman took 5th position with an identical move as he performed on Albon at turn two - he then would apply serious pressure to Leclerc in the remaining laps of the race, ultimatley running out of time and finishing in 5th position at the flag. Sean held on to finish a strong 10th position after gaining more positions throughout the race.

FIA Formula 2 now heads into the annual summer break before the action resumes on the 25-27 August at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium for rounds 15-16 of the 2017 Season.

Pertamina Arden currently sit 6th overall in the Team's Championship. Norman sites 7th overall in the Driver's Championship and Sean is 17th overall as the series concludes just before the 'Summer Shutdown' .

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