Luca Ghiotto was one lap away from claiming victory in the Sprint race at the Bahrain International Circuit on Sunday but found it impossible to stop the charging – and fresher tyre-shod – Charles Leclerc from passing him on that final lap.
The Russian Time driver conserved his tyres well during the race and had repassed Oliver Rowland for the lead just before Leclerc ended his remarkable eight-lap charge from fifteenth to win.
“I was very close to winning that!” said Ghiotto after the race. “After the degradation I experienced yesterday I was careful not to overwork the tyres early in the race.
“Rowland and [Antonio] Fuoco passed me but I was able to re-pass when my tyres were in better shape. There was nothing I could do against Leclerc on options – I needed the race to be one lap shorter, but second is good!”
Ghiotto was able to start on the front row in that Sprint race thanks to a seventh place finish in Saturday’s Feature race, but the Italian felt he was compromised by tyre degradation that prevented him from matching the pace of team-mate and eventual winner Artem Markelov.
“I had to fight quite hard in the early laps and I think I paid the price with tyre degradation,” said Ghiotto. “The car was set up the same as Artem’s, who proved that there were no issues there, but on the option tyre in particular, I just didn’t seem to have a lot of grip.”