ART Grand Prix’s Théo Pourchaire was victorious in the first Feature Race of the 2022 FIA Formula 2 season at the Bahrain International Circuit.
The Frenchman led Carlin’s Liam Lawson who took his second podium of the weekend with Hitech Grand Prix’s Jüri Vips completing the podium.
The Estonian driver looked to be unbeatable after taking the lead at turn one and stretching out a comfortable lead on the rest of the grid. However, when it came to the pit-stops, a mistake from the pit crew saw him tumble down the order.
Pole-sitter Jack Doohan struggled when the five lights went out, dropping down to third place after suffering from a touch of wheel-spin. He looked to benefit from Vips’ pit-stop mishap but on leaving the pits himself, the Australian made contact with Pourchaire which ended with wing damage followed by another trip to the pits.
Campos Racing’s Ralph Boschung had another lightning fast start, jumping up to second place before the Safety Car was called out due to Frederick Vesti stopping on track at turn one.
When the safety car crawled back in at the end of lap four, the Swiss driver dropped down to fifth place after being overtaken by Doohan, Pourchaire and finally Lawson.
With most of the grid starting on the harder compound of tyres, DAMS driver Ayumu Iwasa opted for the softer compound with him starting at the back of the grid. The Japanese driver had a stellar drive, overtaking pretty much everyone throughout the race.
By lap nine, he was up to ninth position and found himself in the lead once everyone in front of him had pitted.
MP Motorsport’s Felipe Drugovich was the first driver on the hard compounds to pull the plug and pit for softs on lap ten. It worked out for him, eventually taking the net lead before the charging Pourchaire took it off him with fresher rubber.
Out of position following his pit-stop mishap, the Red Bull Junior Vips continued his excellent pace as he set his sights back on the front runners. He was a second faster than anyone else on the track as he climbed into third place.
Saturday’s Sprint Race winner, Richard Verschoor was punted by Charouz Racing System’s Enzo Fittipaldi at turn one after a thrilling battle involving five drivers which brought out a late Safety Car.
Thus queued the dramatics in the pit-lane. Dennis Hauger and Calan Williams were both forced to retire with the same problem – a loose wheel which ended up coming off once they were released from the pits. On replay, it looked like a scary incident where all who were involved were lucky to be injured.
The pit lane was forced to close as the rest of the field bunched up on track for the restart. It was a perfect restart from Pourchaire who was then told that this lap would be the final lap of the race due to the time allocation running out.
|POS||NO||DRIVER||NAT||TEAM||TIME (31 Laps)|
|1||10||Théo Pourchaire||FRA||ART Grand Prix||1:01:54.454|
|3||8||Jüri Vips||EST||Hitech Grand Prix||+1.714|
|4||15||Ralph Boschung||CHE||Campos Racing||+3.863|
|5||7||Marcus Armstrong||NZL||Hitech Grand Prix||+4.606|
|6||11||Felipe Drugovich||BRA||MP Motorsport||+5.722|
|9||24||Jake Hughes||GBR||Van Amersfoort Racing||+8.008|
|10||3||Jack Doohan||AUS||Virtuosi Racing||+8.854|
|11||22||Enzo Fittipaldi||BRA||Charouz Racing System||+10.074|
|12||4||Marino Sato||JPN||Virtuosi Racing||+11.353|
|13||25||Amaury Cordeel||BEL||Van Amersfoort Racing||+12.704|
|14||2||Jehan Daruvala||IND||PREMA Racing||+14.361|
|15||23||Cem Bölükbasi||TUR||Charouz Racing System||+15.965|
|17||14||Olli Caldwell||GBR||Campos Racing||+1 Lap|
|18||21||Calan Williams||AUS||Trident||+4 Laps|
|19||1||Dennis Hauger||NOR||PREMA Racing||+4 Laps|
|21||12||Clément Novalak||FRA||MP Motorsport||RET|
|22||9||Frederick Vesti||DNK||ART Grand Prix||RET|
The next round takes place in Saudi Arabia at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit over the weekend of the 25-27 March.