Abt was one of five drivers to start the race on slick tyres, which proved the wrong call as the heavens opened on the formation lap. This promoted Lotus team-mate Conor Daly, who started P3, to the lead before the conditions were so bad the race director signaled the red flag and the race was suspended. After a 15 minute wait on the grid the cars restarted under the safety car and, on Lap 8, racing was finally underway again. Daly was passed by Patric Niederhauser and finished P2, while Abt finished seventh earning the reverse grid P2 for Race 2 and Aaro Vainio, in the third Lotus, finished fifth tucked up behind Matias Laine’s MW Arden, whom he was unable to pass.
Race 2 saw very little racing, just three laps that weren’t under the safety car. Abt made the perfect start to take the lead from Mitch Evans and blast into the distance, but his advantage was canceled out by a Lap 1 incident at the hairpin involving Vicky Piria, which led to eight laps behind the safety car. Daly, meanwhile, leapt from seventh place to third. At the restart Evans was able to get a tow and pass Abt. Fabiano Machado’s off on Lap 11 brought out another safety car, under which the race was finished. Abt finished second, Daly third, and Vainio sixth.
Evans now leads the championship with 121 points, with Vainio second on 103, Abt promoted to third on 76 just ahead of Niederhauser and Daly on 75. Lotus GP extends its lead the teams’ championship with 254 points to MW Arden’s 216.
Daniel Abt: “After the bad luck yesterday, I made a pretty good start to pass Mitch and take the lead. I think I could have kept P1 after the first safety car phase but Mitch got a good slipstream and was able to pass me at the hairpin. With the second safety car I didn’t get a chance to try and reclaim my lead so it was a very bad day for me. Second place is not what I wanted in this race. My expectations were higher having earned pole for Race 1 and started on the front row for Race 2. I still got good points but it was the win that I wanted in front of my home fans.”
Conor Daly: “This was a great weekend, I had no penalties and a good qualifying, and I go away with two podiums. That’s great for the championship and continues the strong momentum from Silverstone. It was frustrating to spend so many laps under the safety car today because the car was strong in the dry, but in the end that’s motorsports and at least I made a mega start which put us up there.”