Callum Ilott has taken his maiden victory in the FIA Formula Two Championship after a thrilling season-opening race at the Red Bull Ring, Austria.
Starting from third position, Ilott made a solid start off the grid to fly into first place before turn one. Battling hard with his UNI-Virtuosi Racing teammate, Callum and Guanyu Zhou raced side-by-side through a number of corners before Callum, who was no longer on the racing line, was forced to yield the position before the fast-sweeping turn seven and tucked into second place.
Pitting a lap after his teammate and from second place, Callum rejoined the race ahead of Zhou but was soon passed by the driver on the up-to-temperature harder compound tyres. Ilott then had the task of passing Mick Schumacher, who had jumped him in the pit stops, and after patiently waiting for his opportunity, passed his fellow Ferrari Driver Academy member to retake second place.
Race leader, Guanyu Zhou, then encountered mechanical issues and handed Callum the lead of the race. Despite a late safety car, Callum saw off the challenge from Schumacher and showed strong pace in the remaining laps to take his maiden FIA F2 win by over eight seconds.
Callum Ilott: “It’s an absolutely brilliant feeling to win my first FIA F2 race. Zhou and I had some great battles at the start and I was maybe over pushing a little but we both still had great pace. It’s such a shame for Zhou, he was dominating the race up until his problem and it would have been a great finish to the race. A huge thank you to the team who have done such an amazing job so far this weekend, and probably deserved two drivers on the podium, but to come in and win my first race with them is a dream come true.“
“I knew coming into this season that I have got to do a good job, I have experience from last year and I’m with a great team who have really helped me get back into the rhythm since lockdown. Now I’m back in that rhythm, I feel like we’re set for some good results to come. The competition is really high this year but I’m confident we can keep them behind.”