Bahrain, March 29: India’s racing star Jehan Daruvala began his 2021 FIA Formula 2 Championship campaign on a stellar note, clinching second place in race 1, during the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend, here at the Bahrain International Circuit over the weekend.
He showed his mettle in the second race too, climbing from eleventh to fourth after a brilliant run, to miss a second straight podium by the proverbial whisker. In the final race, he started at sixth and although he did move down & up the order, he had to settle for a sixth place finish that puts him third place in the Points Standings, after Round 1 of 8.
“I kept out of trouble at the start of Race 1, and then made sensible moves up the order. Both, Lawson and I, had similar pace towards the end, but it was difficult to pass. It’s good to start the season with a podium,” the Red Bull Racing Junior driver said after his victory.
“I enjoyed Race 2 too, with the amount of overtaking in the last few laps. Unfortunately I flat spotted my set of soft tyres, causing severe vibrations that seriously compromised race 3 for me. A big thanks to Carlin for the excellent car which helped me finish in the points in all the races,” he added.
Earlier, Jehan qualified sixth out of 22 racers on the grid but started on P5, owing to the reverse grid rule for the opening race. He began smartly, overtaking the car ahead to get him to move into fourth position.
Jehan then drove intelligently, staying just behind the pack, without pushing hard to protect his tyre life. Halfway through the race, he began mounting pressure on German racer David Beckmann, for third. He succeeded by first pushing him hard into a corner and then overtaking around the outside, to move into third.
French racer, Theo Pouchaire who had started on pole, was next. Jehan quickly closed the gap and just as he was about to make a move, the Frenchman’s car suffered a technical issue, allowing Jehan to move up to second.
Race leader Liam Lawson of New Zealand, was now 2.7 seconds ahead. Jehan reeled off a series of good laps to quickly close the gap to the leader. The extreme Bahrain heat, however, meant that all drivers were finding it tough to overtake, and Jehan was unable to make a serious attempt for the race lead.
Jehan ultimately crossed the finish line, less than a second behind Lawson who won the race. Such was the pace of the lead duo that Beckmann in third, finished over 13 seconds behind Jehan.
The top ten finishers of the first race were reversed for the start of Race 2. Thus Jehan started ninth for the second sprint race. A first corner melee on lap one brought out the safety car, while Jehan dropped a couple of places.
When racing resumed Jehan made one position and some laps later moved up to eighth. Another safety car situation saw Jehan and other drivers dive into the pits for a fresh set of soft tyres.
Jehan was eleventh after the round of unscheduled pit stops. He was on a charge the moment racing resumed and in just five laps, he drove another fantastic race, moving up steadily each lap to eventually finish a fantastic fourth.
For the first time since its inception, the F2 championship is being aired LIVE on TV. Eurosport is airing all the races thanks to Jehan’s increasing popularity. F2 will resume action to support the famed Monaco Grand Prix on May 20.