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Race report
FIA F2 Paul Ricard

F2 France: Lawson takes win in hectic sprint race

Liam Lawson claimed his second FIA Formula 2 win of the season at Paul Ricard, snatching the lead from Jehan Daruvala with five laps remaining to take victory.

Liam Lawson, Carlin

The Carlin driver, who started in second, struggled off the line, losing a position to Marcus Armstrong. But he fought back, taking back second on lap four before mounting his attack on Daruvala.

Though the Prema driver maintained his lead after the safety car period, Lawson clung on to the leader before taking first place at Turn 8 on lap 16.

With fighting behind him, the New Zealander build a solid lead to cross the line 3.2s ahead of Daruvala and take his first win since Saudi Arabia earlier in the season.

Frenchman Theo Pourchaire completed the podium for ART, clawing his way up the field from sixth before a chaotic last two laps allowed him to take third.

He faces an investigation after the race for forcing Marcus Armstrong off the track at Turn 11 on the penultimate lap in the fierce fight for third, his rival dropping down the order to finish ninth.

Armstrong and Daruvala were also noted by the stewards for their lap 19 battle.

Enzo Fittipaldi, Richard Verschoor and Clement Novalak all stalled on the grid, though the three drivers managed to get away from the pitlane, despite a delay for Verschoor.

Armstrong took second from Lawson off the line, with the Red Bull junior facing stiff competition from championship leader Felipe Drugovich, who qualified fourth but was dropped to sixth after his quickest lap was deleted for exceeding track limits, as Juri Vips struggled to get going.

Pourchaire was closing in on Lawson by lap three, while Daruvala built up a 0.6s gap out front to clear the lead.

Armstrong and Lawson fought wheel-to-wheel the following lap, with the eventual winner taking second at Turns 8 and 9 while Pourchaire closed in on the pair from fourth.

The gap between Daruvala and Lawson had built to 2.2s in the opening laps, but the New Zealander had slashed it to below a second before racing was neutralised on lap nine.

The safety car was deployed after Fittipaldi, mounting a charge back through the field for Charouz after his pit lane start, made contact with Campos Racing's Roberto Merhi, subbing in for an injured Ralph Boschung.

Fittipaldi tried to dive up the inside at the North chicane when he made contact with Merhi, before he was collected by Amaury Cordeel, who made it back to the pits but suffered terminal suspension damage.
Racing resumed on lap 13, with the order maintained, despite Drugovich closing in on Pourchaire for fourth.

Lawson finally took the lead on lap 16, making contact with Daruvala as he overtook at Turn 8.

Three laps from the end, the order shuffled, with Armstrong and Daruvala tussling, the Prema driver retaining second, before Pourchaire made his way into third with Armstrong running wide at Le Beausset.

Drugovich was able to make his way up to fourth, while a floundering Armstrong's afternoon went from bad to worse on the last lap after contact from teammate Vips, dropping him to ninth.

Virtuosi Racing's Jack Doohan took fifth, having started in sixth, while Frederik Vesti and Ayumu Iwasa completed the points positions.

Logan Sargeant, who sits second in the title fight, finished in 10th, but will start on pole for tomorrow's feature race.

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