Vips at the double in Baku, wins Sprint 2 and Sunday Feature

Juri Vips backed up his victory in Saturday’s second sprint race by taking an assured victory in Sunday’s more important feature race to put himself firmly into championship contention.

The Estonian kept his nose clean from the outset and having grabbed the lead of the race at the start, he was aided by time penalties to rivals Liam Lawson and Oscar Piastri to win from the Australian and Saturday sprint race 1 winner Robert Shwartzman.

“We have been working really hard behind the scenes to get ourselves here and just put a weekend together,” commented the victorious Vips. “We knew the pace was there all season but the first two race weekends we never capitalised on it but this weekend we really did a pretty much perfect job apart from qualifying. So we will try to carry this momentum into Silverstone.”

The HiTech GP driver started on the front row of the grid alongside teammate Lawson but got the better start of the two, out dragging the Kiwi into the first corner as behind them, Dan Ticktum hit Theo Pourchaire, who in turn collided with Marcus Armstrong to bring about a Safety Car.

It led to a ten second penalty for the Briton and a similar fate was to befall Lawson, who was also slapped with a ten second addition for forcing Theo Pourchaire wide at the start. With Piastri having jumped Vips in the opening pit stop, the Prema driver was then hit with a five second penalty for an unsafe pit release, meaning Vips could relax a little out front, nursing his medium tyres home for back-to-back victories.

Second place for Piastri means that last year’s F3 champion moves to within five points of championship leader Guanyu Zhou in the standings.

“Obviously a much better day today than yesterday. Was a bit lucky with the five second penalty to not have a Safety Car or anything like that, but really happy with the race and the car was really good so thanks to Prema for that. Good work for the team with Robert getting third, so always nice to have two red cars on the podium.”

Fraser Masefield

Sports news and features writer, web editor and author.