The start of the F2 feature race in Abu Dhabi saw a heavy crash as Trident Racing’s Arjun Maini slammed into the right rear of the stalled DAMS entry of Nicholas Latifi.
Prema Racing’s Nyck De Vries had taken the lead on the start over polesitter and championship leader George Russell, but the cars of DAMS teammates Latifi, starting in third, and Alex Albon in eighth didn’t start. Several drivers were able to swerve and avoid Latifi until Maini – who started last – collided with the right side of Latifi’s car.
The incident was close enough to race control that FIA director Charlie Whiting had to duck.
Neither driver was injured, and after several moments Latifi got out of his car.
“I’m all fine. OK thankfully,” he told the race broadcast. “Haven’t had an issue with the start. From what I was told it was the same to all the cars. I was full throttle and I could feel the revs were much lower than normal. Very frustrated.”
Albon, who trailed Russell by 41 points after qualifying and was the only driver capable of unseating the championship leader, rejoined the race a lap down.
In the chaos Sergio Sette Camara stalled too, while BWT Arden’s Nirei Fukuzumi stopped at Turn 1.
When action resumed several minutes later, De Vries kept control of the race lead until lap 10. Russell passed him in Turn 3 to take the lead. Luca Ghiotto inherited the lead through a cycle of pit stops, but a penalty for leaving the track handed the lead to Russell, who went on to the win and the F2 championship.