At 20 years old, Theo Pourchaire took a P5 finish to claim the 2023 Formula 2 Championship title.

Frederik Vesti fought hard to claim any points available, but couldn't put enough room between himself and Pourchaire to take the title.

Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images
Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

Race recap:

Joshua Mason and Franco Colapinto both stalled on the grid as the drivers headed into their formation lap meaning the pair would have to start from the pit lane.

Frederik Vesti opted to start on the medium tyres, opting for the alternative strategy to Theo Pourchaire who started on soft tyres.

Jack Doohan started in pole position, his second of the season, alongside fellow Alpine Academy driver, Victor Martins.

Doohan had a fantastic launch off the line as the race started, immediately putting a gap between himself and the rest of the grid as the pack stormed into turn one.

His pace remained strong as he continued putting space between himself and Kush Maini in second place, the gap between the pair being a second and a half on lap four.

Photo by Clive Mason - Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images
Photo by Clive Mason - Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images

"Very important to pass Hauger this lap," was the message to Vesti on lap six as he trailed closely behind the MP Motorsport of Dennis Hauger.

Behind the pair, Richard Verschoor, Oliver Bearman, and Pourchaire remained close in a DRS train fronted by Hauger.

Pourchaire and Ayumu Iwasa peeled into the pits at the end of lap six to swap their soft tyres for the medium compound to take them to the end of the race.

A lap later, Maini, Bearman and Jak Crawford also came into the pits to change tyres on the same strategy as Pourchaire and Iwasa.

Photo by Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images
Photo by Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images

Race leader Jack Doohan visited the pits a short while later on lap 10, allowing Victor Martins to inherit the lead of the race on the alternative strategy, followed by Vesti six seconds behind.

"We need the next 10 laps to be like one big quali lap," were the words of encouragement to Vesti as he tried to close the gap between himself and the ART car ahead.

On lap 18 Vesti's teammate, Bearman, crawled around the Yas Marina circuit with a mechanical issue putting him out of the race.

His Prema car came to a halt on the pit lane entry, causing it to be closed for a few laps as marshalls struggled to clear the smoking car after it was left in gear, preventing it from being moved without a crane.

Eventually, the pits were opened again despite Bearman's car still being recovered as those on the alternative strategy were approaching their pit windows.

Vesti came in to change his tyres on lap 23, rejoining the track in ninth with his rival Pourchaire ahead on much older medium tyres.

Ahead of the pair, Red Bull Academy drivers Maloney and Iwasa battled for a potential podium spot.

Photo by Clive Mason - Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images
Photo by Clive Mason - Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images

"He's weaving very dangerously," was the complaint from Maloney as he struggled to get past the defensive Iwasa.

He momentarily passed the Japanese driver through the turn six and seven chicane but Iwasa muscled his way past on the exit of turn nine.

Meanwhile, the scrap between the pair allowed the two championship protagonists to catch up behind them with Kush Maini in the middle of both battles.

Vesti made a daring lunge to clear Pourchaire at turn 6, in the process forcing Maini to cut the corner to avoid colliding with the Prema driver.

Pourchaire wouldn't settle down, however, jostling with Vesti and Maini for positions.

As a result of such close racing, Pourchaire had no choice but to cut the corner at turn 13 to avoid collecting the Campos car next to him.

Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images
Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

The following lap, Vesti would again try and clear the ART of Pourchaire at turn 6 only for the position to be snatched back into the grasp of the championship leader.

The defensive moves from Pourchaire prevented Vesti from charging through the field on the far newer soft tyres.

Finally, a lap later, Vesti overtook Pourchaire for P5 and made it stick, putting a gap between the pair as he hunted down Iwasa and Maloney for a podium finish.

Iwasa was cleared by the Prema driver through the turn 6 and seven chicane, promoting Vesti to P4.

The Virtual Safety Car made a brief appearance on lap 30 as the PHM Racing car of Josh Mason pulled off the track with an issue, however, the car was quickly cleared and racing resumed with two laps remaining.

On the final lap, as Vesti attempted to get past the Rodin Carlin of Maloney, the pair went off track with Vesti momentarily suspended in the air as he hit a high curb.

He was able to carry on without worry to claim the final podium position but Maloney wasn't as lucky, spinning out and tumbling down the order.

Ahead, Jack Doohan crossed the line to claim his third race victory of 2023, his final season in the Formula 2 category.

Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images
Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images

An emotional Theo Pourchaire crossed the line to claim fifth position along with the Formula 2 Championship win.

ART Grand Prix also took the team's championship title against their Prema Racing rivals for the first time in modern F2 history.