FIA Formula 2 headed to the prestigious streets of Monte-Carlo for Round 4 and Races 7-8 of the 2019 Championship.
Anthoine Hubert and Tatiana Calderon both made their debut on the legendary street circuit and spent the Free Practice session acclimating themselves with the unique circuit, setting the 10th and 19th fastest time respectively.
Qualifying was split into two separate groups to lessen the risk of traffic disrupting the session. Anthoine set the 4th fastest time in Group A, with Tatiana setting the 10th fastest lap in Group B. This left them 8th and 19th on the grid for the Feature Race on Friday morning.
Anthoine made a great start to move himself into 4th position and slotting ahead of Mick Schumacher, whilst Tatiana also made progress in the early stages to move into 18th. Tatiana would run the Medium compound tyres for a long first stint of the race, whilst Anthoine was running the Soft tyres for the opposite strategy.
The pitstop window opened on Lap 8, where Anthoine made his pitstop for Medium compound tyres. A difficult pitstop however cost him time and he lost track position to two of his rivals when he re-joined the action.
Tatiana was running in 9th position on her alternate strategy, fending off the attacks from Schumacher behind. This was until Lap 20, when Schumacher span her around at the Rascasse, blocking the circuit and causing a red flag disruption.
The red flag period caused confusion, as the race stewards made an error in the classification, meaning all driver’s from 8th position and below were running a lap down – unbeknown to the team, who decided to run the tyres allocated for the Sprint Race in order to make up ground in the restarted race.
This resulted in a race of confusion and would impact tomorrow’s Sprint Race.
When the race resumed, Anthoine was running in 12th and Tatiana made her mandatory pitstop on the restart – emerging in 18th.
Anthoine made good progress up the field as the strategies played out, crossing the line in 9th position and banking two championship points. Tatiana’s compromised race saw her cross the line an unlucky 15th after being taken out earlier.
Post-race however, the BWT Arden duo were promoted to 8th and 14th respectively – giving Anthoine the reverse-grid pole position for the Sprint Race.
The reigning GP3 Champion made a brilliant start from pole position to lead the field at the start of the Sprint Race. Tatiana held her own in the opening lap of the race as the field filtered through the notoriously difficult streets.
Anthoine extended his lead out front, before Tatiana was hit by Luca Ghiotto into Mirabeau corner, forcing her into the barriers and bringing out the first Safety Car of the race.
Anthoine made a great restart to hold the lead and again assume control of the race at the front of the pack. The Frenchman reeled off a series of fastest laps to open out a buffer to his rivals behind.
His hard work was undone however on Lap 9, as the Safety Car was deployed for the 2nd time due to an accident at the Fairmont Hairpin.
Despite this, Anthoine made no mistake on the second restart, before settling back into a rhythm in the lead of the race.
He managed the gap ahead of nearest rival Louis Deletraz, keeping him more than one second behind and out of the threat of DRS from behind.
As the laps ticked down, Deletraz began to gain on Anthoine out in the lead – piling on enormous pressure in the closing stages of the race.
Anthoine had his mirrors filled with the Carlin driver in the final laps, with his tyres fading rapidly.
Anthoine however incredibly held on to the lead, despite a scary oversteer moment on the final corner – winning an incredible tense race by less than 0.1s!
This was BWT Arden’s first victory of the season, where Anthoine also became the first Rookie in the championship to take a victory in the 2019 season.
The team will be back in action at the Le Castellet, Paul Ricard Circuit in France, on the 21-23 June for Round 5 and Races 9-10 of the 2019 FIA Formula 2 Championship.