Robert Shwartzman and PREMA Racing enjoyed a brilliant day at Baku as the FIA Formula 2 Championship went underway with race 1 and 2 at the Azerbaijani street venue.
The Russian racer, supported by the Ferrari Driver Academy, took-off from P1 on the reverse grid of Race 1 and led from start to finish. Even after a lengthy early safety car situation, Shwartzman stayed in control and secured his first win of the year by a considerable margin. In race 2, starting from P10, he put together a clever run, kept his nose away from the early attrition and finished in P5 to cap a consistent run.
On the other hand, Oscar Piastri experienced a rocky start but fought back in impressive fashion. The 20-year-old Australian was rear-ended in turn 2 of the opening race. The heavy contact launched Piastri into another car and the resulting damage turned out to be terminal. In race 2, Piastri started from P19 and steadily regained ground, taking full advantage of race situations to maximize his score. Piastri eventually claimed P8, and set the fastest lap of the race to take three valuable points.
# 1 - Robert Shwartzman
"It's good to be back to victory. It took a bit of time, and I hope it is a good starting point for the championship. The start from P1 was good, I managed to keep the first position and straight away, I had a pretty decent grip, and I got the gap straight away. The gap kept increasing and as the car was really good, and it was always improving so that's a great thing. In race 2 the start was pretty decent, and I tried to stay away from the carnage. After the three safety-car situations, I was behind the pack in P5 but I didn’t have a perfect balance with tyres, and I was a bit slower in the corners where it’s important to have rotation. Basically, we stayed in P5 for the rest of the race. Anyway, it was a really positive day. Let’s hope for a good race tomorrow."
# 2 - Oscar Piastri
"Race 1 was a very short one as I was hit from behind into turn 2. I got pushed into another car, had a puncture and broke my front wing. Starting from 19th, in race 2 we got a decent result and the fastest lap to score a couple of bonus points. We struggled a bit at the beginning with getting references and stuff, I think we paid the price a little bit for only doing three corners in the first race. In the first part of the race, I was getting to grips with everything. Then in the middle part, we were quite good but in the end, we didn’t quite have the pace compared to Ticktum and Lawson. I’m happy, it could have been a little better, but we’re in a good position for tomorrow. We know what to change and what to work on. Hopefully, we can bring home some solid points.”